MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Mother Nature is going to throw pretty much everything but the kitchen sink at Alabama over the next few days. From rain/storms south to the potential for snow north, we have an active week ahead. I am using the word "we" collectively. Our issues center more around rain/storms than the wintry side of things. But that's a discussion worth getting into.
TODAY: Clouds and moisture have been increasing through the morning as temperatures slowly moderate. Winds have turned more southerly, helping usher in milder air. Still, temperatures this morning were hovering around the freezing mark in many cases. Every now and then a weak echo would show up on radar earlier this morning. With temps around freezing, we had to keep an eye on whether any of that precipitation was actually making it to the ground. Most wasn't, so we ended up with no issues. Wintry weather problems are more of an issue into north and northeast Alabama where steadier precipitation is falling into borderline cold enough air to support something other than just plain rain. But those problems avoid us.
Scattered showers will build into the area later this afternoon. That will make for a wet commute home for some, but not all. Temperatures top out in the middle 50s today so there will be no wintry weather headaches at all.
THURSDAY: The fun really starts to begin as Tuesday wears on. Scattered showers will remain possible throughout the day...including the morning. The beginning stages of developing low pressure will begin to unfold to our west later in the day. This low will be the culprit for what will eventually be a major snowstorm extending from the Tennessee Valley into New England. More on that in a moment.
Thursday's temperatures will soar into the 60s across the region on the heels of southerly winds. It remains possible a few rumbles of thunder develop in mainly western Alabama later Thursday afternoon. The threat for thunderstorms in general has been something we've been keeping a close eye on in the weather center. Developing and strengthening low pressure will pass to our northwest Thursday night into Friday morning. That will place much of central and south Alabama in the warm sector of this system. That opens the discussion for severe weather, particularly given just how dynamic this system is expected to be.
Wind profiles will be strong into Thursday night/Friday morning. But instability values are significantly lacking. It remains unlikely that sufficient instability will be able to surge northward from the Gulf to provoke widespread severe thunderstorms. With that being said...we will likely have to keep an eye on things overnight into early Friday morning for the outside chance a storm or two flares up on us. Given the impressive dynamics, the lack of instability doesn't completely negate a strong storm threat entirely. Something we'll be monitoring.
FRIDAY: As the low scoots northeast, strong cold air advection will quickly wrap around the backside of this system. With some leftover moisture in place, rain will quickly transition to snow across the northern third of Alabama. There is still a good amount of debate with regard to whether any of that snow will actually accumulate across north Alabama...roughly from lets say Birmingham northward.
That leads us into the inevitable question, "Will it snow in my backyard"? Maybe. And that's not a sarcastic answer. It really depends on where your backyard is. From past experience, these backside wraparound moisture events are notoriously tricky to forecast. The cold air will be there, it will be more a matter of how much moisture is actually left over to fall into that cold air. Josh and I have had an ongoing discussion about this prospect this morning and have agreed to mention the possibility of a few flurries flying across our far northern counties. We're talking a Marion to Rockford to Alexander City line and points northward. If a few flurries do manage to make it to the ground, it would not stick. Nothing more than a novelty. But it remains a possibility the first flakes of the season could be seen for a few of our northern counties. Highly changeable forecast, so be prepared for adjustments one way or the other.
If you have travel plans that take you into north Alabama, the Tennessee Valley or the mid Atlantic you are advised to pay close attention to this storm. Travel disruptions will affect a good chunk of real estate east of the Mississippi River with this storm. As is commonly the case, we're just a tad too far south to have to deal with the major wintry headaches.