We are tracking a warm front slowly lifting northward across Alabama and is visible both by looking at the temperature sensors and satellite imagery.
Not everyone is going to get to enjoy highs in the 70s this afternoon, but areas especially south of I-20 should. Unfortunately it looks like quite a dreary day continuing to the north of the front. Expect low clouds, fog and showers to continue to the north of the warm front.
Wednesday, the warm front continues to lift northward and allows all of Central Alabama to warm into the upper 60s and lower 70s.
We'll be tracking the movement southward of a strong cold front on Wednesday night through Thursday. The model assessment of the cold air still wavers some between models but we believe that enough cold air will filter in at the surface across northwest Alabama for precipitation behind the front to changeover to sleet and freezing rain. This changeover may take until daybreak across our northwestern counties and closer to 9AM across the higher elevations of Alabama near the I-59/20 corridor.
That's threat number 1 of a 2 punch happening on Thursday! If you live or plan on traveling at elevations above 1,000 ft, anticipate icy spots developing during the mid morning hours on Thursday. During the evening hours, below freezing air pushes even farther southward and any residual moisture around will likely freeze resulting in slick spots anywhere across the Fox 6 viewing area. That's punch number 2!
So at this point, it looks like two zones set up for the greatest chance for travel impacts on Thursday.
THURSDAY MORNING IMPACT ZONES:
Northwest: Longer duration below freezing and a longer duration of sleet and freezing rain accumulation. Marion, Winston, Cullman, Lamar, Fayette and northwest Walker counties.
Higher Elevations: Temperatures look to dip below freezing from 1,000 ft and higher during the mid-morning hours and any lingering precipitation falling during that time frame would likely freeze into a light glaze on elevated surfaces and bridges and overpasses could see some slick spots developing too. Higher elevations in Jefferson, northern Shelby, St. Clair, Blount, Etowah and Cherokee counties.
THURSDAY EVENING AND NIGHT IMPACTS:
All of the Fox 6 Viewing Area: Any residual moisture will likely freeze as temperatures plummet below freezing. The only saving grace from widespread issues will be gusty winds to help dry up area roadways.
We'll continue to update you as we track this developing storm system... Subtle changes to the forecast and fine tuning will likely occur leading up to the event.
STRONG WIND GUSTS PLUS AND MINUS:
PLUS= Wind gusts over 20 mph will help to dry roadways faster
NEGATIVE= Could knock down tree limbs and cause sporadic power outages
Just prepare for the worst case scenario so you aren't caught off guard if you happen to lose power for a few hours on Thursday.
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist