The weather is going to be downright nasty in the coming days. The combination of heavy rain, sleet, snow, and the cold temperatures that go along with the wintry precipitation.
Let's talk about why this mess is happening. It's a strong upper-level low. We watched it last week spinning of the coast of California. This week it's making its trek across the Southeast. Cold air, abudant Gulf Moisture, and the spin of the low are the main ingredients.
The RPM model is suggesting between 2.5-3" of rainfall across Central Alabama with higher amounts to the south before the low kicks off to the northeast.
Let's breakdown what we can expect in the coming days.
This afternoon/evening: Rain (some heavy at times tonight). Sleet mixes with rain with even some snow flurries at the onset of precipiation. High temperatures will reach the lower to mid 40s today. Expect overnight lows to remain well-above freezing tonight. Lows will range from 38-43 degrees.
Tomorrow: There is a 100% rain chance in the forecast tomorrow with highs only in the mid 40s. Rain will be heavy at times. It's possible we could even have a few thunderstorms. While no severe weather is expected, you could hear the rumble of thunder at times.
Tomorrow night/Wednesday morning: We must watch carefully. As the system exits, a secondary cold front (very strong one) will move in. There will likely be enough moisture to left to interact with the cold air that's rushing in. This is where our rain to snow changeover will take place. One of the critical temperatures we examine is the 850mb (or at 5,000ft level). The 850mb freezing level will be well south of us by Wednesday morning. This means any precipitation that does fall will be snow.
How much? I don't think we'll see a lot. But, we all know even a small amount gets plenty of attention in these parts. Based on my experience, the model data, and how this system is evolving I would say it's possible to see some accumulation on the grassy areas and even on rooftops. Higher elevations of East Alabama would be more prone to seeing some snowfall that the rest of the state.
Another big concern is slick roads. Think about it - all this cold air is coming at the end of a heavy rain event. There still could be some puddles left from Tuesday's heavy rain. Temperatures Wednesday morning will be hovering around freezing. Highs will not be much warmer. For folks doing some Thanksgiving travel, please be aware of possible slick spots on Wednesday. This is especially true in higher elevations and along bridges and overpasses.
Thanksgiving Forecast: Thanksgiving still looks sunny with highs in the 40s. The temperatures will gradually warm a bit Friday and over the weekend.
Iron Bowl: A light jack might be needed, but overall it will be comfortable. Expect kickoff temperatures around 58 with partly sunny skies.
Stay close to weather information over the next several days as this systems evolves. We'll keep you update online and on Fox 6 News.
Fox 6 Chief Meteorologist