First Alert Weather Day declared for Tuesday

Rain transitions to snow Tuesday morning

First Alert Weather Day declared for Tuesday
Timing

The WSFA Weather team has declared Tuesday a First Alert Weather Day. Rain will develop from west to east across the area early Tuesday morning, transitioning to a brief period of snow before abruptly ending. Some impact to the morning commute is possible, with the greatest impacts expected for those traveling west and north where the highest accumulations are likely

Let’s be clear about a few things up front. You won’t be waking up to a blizzard. We do not expect significant accumulations...the kind you’d get to go sledding in. We do not expect any accumulation to last for very long, either. What we do expect is a small window, probably 1-2 hours, where a burst of snow could briefly whiten the ground. Grassy & elevated surfaces will be more likely to see some minor accumulation. Direct accumulation on roadways will be more difficult to achieve with temperatures expected to be generally above freezing as snow falls. It’s a tightrope walk.

Timing
Timing

From an accumulation standpoint, this is a Deep South special. We’re trying to draw boundaries between a dusting, half an inch and an inch. Northerners would laugh at such a task. We have Winter Weather Advisories in effect for counties generally west and north of Montgomery. Within this Advisory, snow totals of UP TO 1″ will be possible. Let me say that again...UP TO. Some areas won’t see any accumulation. Some will see a brief, slushy dusting. Some could get 1″. The farther south you go, the lower the 1) likelihood of snow and 2) said snow will actually stick.

Accumulation
Accumulation

I’d encourage you to worry less about specific accumulations and more about potential impacts to the morning commute. Regardless of accumulation, snow in any capacity has a habit of wrecking havoc on area travel. If you have travel plans west and north of Montgomery tomorrow morning, you’re going to have headaches. Driving to Birmingham is not going to be fun. But even travel in/around the Montgomery are could be problematic, particularly if the burst of snow becomes briefly heavy. That’s possible. A short-lived whitening of the ground is possible too. It doesn’t take much to generate travel problems, and the timing speeding up brings the window of snow in just in time for the morning rush. Once again, it’s going to be a tightrope walk between smooth sailing & major slowdowns.

Falling snow should be gone by 12 noon. Some of you may have a light accumulation. Some will just be wet from the rain/melting snow. Temperatures into the afternoon should stay above freezing, so I highly doubt any light accumulation will last very long at all. The next issue will be how fast this leftover water evaporates. We’re racing against the clock after dark as temperatures spiral below freezing and into the 20s. Any leftover moisture would freeze, leading to black ice issues. I’m hopeful this morning this issue will not be widespread, as many will have all afternoon to dry out as best we can. But I can’t promise there won’t be isolated wet spots remaining that could freeze up, especially west & north of Montgomery. This prospect is being monitored as it could carry further implications into our Wednesday morning.

This forecast is a living, breathing entity. Adjustments will continue to be refined as new model data is constantly pouring in. As such, you will likely continue to see changes in our accumulation/impact/timing graphics through the next 24 hours. It remains possible much of the area fails to see any accumulation, limiting impacts significantly. It’s also possible we have to increase accumulation/impacts if models trend more aggressively. We will continuously update this information as new data becomes available. We encourage you to be just as vigilant in your pursuit of this information as an old forecast is often a bad forecast.

Eric