The headline best describes the expected weather for the week ahead. If you want to find sunshine, the Southeast U.S. is probably not the best place for you.
This morning a nearly stationary front was draped across the Southeast U.S. including Central Alabama. Temperatures along and south of the front were in the lower 50s to lower 60s while north of the front readings were in the 40s. The front is forecast to oscillate some today moving north before move back to the southeast. This will make forecasting the highs today very difficult. Pretty sure the Tennessee Valley counties will stay north of the front, so highs there will be in the middle and upper 50s. Central Alabama should see highs in the middle and upper 60s. Those counties in a band from Marion across Winston, Cullman, Blount, Marshall, Etowah, Dekalb, and Cherokee will see the greatest variability depending on exactly where the front is located.
The overall upper air pattern will remain somewhat stuck with an upper ridge over the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas while we watch a deep trough over the western U.S. The strong ridge will do a couple of things. First, it keeps the traveling weather systems pushed north of us. And second, it maintain a connection to Pacific moisture helping to keep us in clouds with off and on chances for showers.
The strong upper trough makes its way eastward from Tuesday through Thursday bringing another front into the Southeast U.S. on Wednesday. Because the front becomes parallel to the upper flow, the front is forecast to stall over the Southeast U.S. Thursday through Saturday keeping us in a moist air mass with shower chances each day. Probably the best chances for widespread rain will come with the approach of the front on Wednesday into Thursday.
Rainfall for the next five days is forecast to between about an inch over the Tennessee River Valley to less than a quarter of an inch over South Alabama. Fortunately none of the showers are forecast to be severe. While the approach of the front in the Wednesday/Thursday time frame suggests some potential for strong to severe storms, nearly all of the parameters appear meager at best, but we will probably need to keep an eye on how this evolves in future model runs.
Temperatures will remain above seasonal values. Our highs are typically around 59 and low around 37, but it looks we will remain well above those for much of the next seven days. In fact, the GFS MOS guidance showed an 85 for next Tuesday, February 20th. If that occurs, it would set a new record high for that date; the old record according to NWS data is 76 set in 1986.
Looking ahead into voodoo country, the GFS is bullish on keeping a strong ridge over the eastern half of the country until the first of March. By the second of March, we have the potential for some colder temperatures over the eastern third of the country with a fairly deep trough along the East Coast. But the troughiness does not last long with yet another substantial ridge along the Mississippi River Valley by March 4th.
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