James Spann: Alabama stays mild through tomorrow; then temps fall

James Spann: Temperatures rise through Thursday, but cold air headed for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

SHORT-TERM WARMTH: We project a high in the mid 60s across north and central Alabama today, about 10 degrees above average for Jan. 10. The sky will be mostly cloudy, but any showers should be few and far between. Upper 60s are possible tomorrow with a few passing showers likely as our thaw continues, but don’t get used to the mild weather.

Rain becomes widespread across the state after midnight tomorrow night and Friday as a cold front pushes through, and temperatures on Friday will fall from the 50s early in the day through the 40s during the morning hours and into the 30s by afternoon. Rain amounts of one-half to 1 inch are likely.

NORTH ALABAMA SNOW? There is a good chance rain will change to snow, possibly mixed with some sleet and freezing rain, over the northern third of Alabama Friday as the cold air rushes into the state. This is the current thinking:

  • The change from rain to wintry precipitation should begin over the northwest corner of the state between 9 a.m. and noon; that transition line should move steadily eastward during the midday hours.
  • The best chance of accumulating snow, for now, seems to be along and north of the Tennessee River of far north Alabama. A few snow flakes or ice pellets are possible as far south as Fayette, Jasper, Oneonta and Gadsden, but accumulation in those cities seems unlikely.
  • Snow amounts of 1 to 3 inches are possible near the Tennessee border for cities like Muscle Shoals, Athens and Huntsville. With temperatures falling into the 20s by late afternoon, this could bring some travel impact there.
  • Accumulating snow is likely northward into Tennessee and Kentucky as well; be aware of that if you are traveling north Friday or Friday night.
  • This forecast can and probably will change, so be sure you are working with fresh information.

BACK INTO THE DEEP FREEZE: The weekend will be cold and dry. Saturday will be partly sunny with a high between 37 and 40 degrees, and we will see sunshine in full force Sunday, when the high will be close to 40. The low early Sunday morning will be somewhere between 18 and 23 for most communities around here.

NEXT WEEK: Cold air will stay in place; in fact, a clipper-type system will bring a secondary push of Arctic air by Tuesday and Wednesday. We note the European global model hints at some light snow over north Alabama Wednesday, but the Global Forecast System is dry, and we will leave the forecast dry for now. We warm up late in the week with some risk of showers by Friday, Jan. 20, or Saturday, Jan. 21.

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