James Spann: Sub-freezing night ahead for Alabama, then warmer weather returns

CHILLY WINTER DAY: Temperatures are in the 45- to 50-degree range across North/Central Alabama this afternoon, with a good supply of sunshine. Tonight will be clear and cold; we project a low between 25 and 30 degrees for most communities early tomorrow. Then, during the day tomorrow, with a strong February sun we project a high up in the mid 60s.

BIG SNOWS: Snow amounts over 12 inches are being reported over parts of the Northeast; cities like New York City and Boston are being hammered. Lots of reports of convective snow as well (snow with thunder and lightning).

The photo below is from Simsbury, Connecticut, with 16 inches of snow (photo from @katcrn).

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The sky becomes mostly cloudy Saturday, and a few isolated showers are possible, but much of the day will be dry with a high in the upper 60s. On Sunday, cloudy and mild weather continues with potential for a few scattered rain showers; the high Sunday will be close to 70 degrees. Rain amounts over the weekend should be pretty light and spotty.

NEXT WEEK: Monday and Tuesday look cool and dry, with highs back in the 50s; we will then bring in a chance of rain Tuesday night and Wednesday as an upper low lifts out of Texas. We do note the GFS (the American global model) shunts this system well to the south, keeping most of Alabama dry, but for now we will ride with the European model, which shows a surface low moving through South Alabama. This system has the potential to bring one-half to 1 inch of rain to the state; severe storms are not expected. Then cooler, drier air returns Thursday and Friday.

DROUGHT MONITOR: Drought conditions continue to slowly improve across Alabama, based on the new data released this morning.

LUNAR ECLIPSE: Seeing lots of buzz about the lunar eclipse and a passing comet tomorrow night. True, but this is a penumbral lunar eclipse, meaning only a slight darkening of the moon most people won’t notice, and the comet (45P) is not visible to the naked eye. Its closest point will come early Saturday morning around 2 a.m. You will need an extremely dark sky and optical aid (at least binoculars, probably a telescope) to see this comet.

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