We are ahead of an approaching cold front which is situated across the Central Plains on this Sunday morning. Ahead of the front, a band of showers continues to develop and track towards the east and northeast. West Alabama will likely see a little wet weather this morning through noon, especially areas west of the I-59/20 corridor. Spotty rain can't be ruled out at any point today though many locations to the east of I-65 and south of I-20 will remain dry for several hours. The main round of rain associated with the front impacts everyone tonight through Monday morning before exiting.
The cold front stalls out across the state on Monday and then lifts back northward as a warm front on Tuesday. That will mean a chance for showers in the morning and then dry and very warm conditions in the afternoon. Highs most places will climb into the 70s and if enough sunshine is realized then temperatures could push 80° to the south of I-20.
The most active weather settles in on Wednesday as a strong cold front moves in from the northwest. A heavy band of rain with embedded storms moves in during the day. We can't rule out a few strong storms but the primary threat from the activity at this time appears to be heavy rainfall which could lead to flash flooding and ponding of water on the roadways. 1" to 2" of rainfall is expected with isolated higher amounts. The timing of this system varies between models and we might need to adjust the time later. Plan on wet weather as early as Wednesday morning across north Alabama and during the afternoon to the south.
The big questions once this front passes by and colder air starts filtering in are, how far south with the freezing line track and will lingering precipitation have enough time to freeze and create slick driving conditions?
We could have a situation where below freezing air undercuts warm and moist air aloft and if several hours of this type of weather occurs then objects that start to cool to the freezing mark will begin to form a glaze of ice. Again, just because the temperature drops below freezing doesn't mean an instant freeze if it's still raining outside. Remember, when you stick a tray of water in the freezer, it takes several hours for the water to freeze. If this worst case scenario were to pan out then several things would have to come together seeing we will be coming off of a very wet and warm stretch.
There is still a ton of uncertainty at this point. I understand that the GFS and the EURO models have been showing the freezing line positioned very far to the south, but these models have not performed well at all this winter. The NAM is finally on board through 6pm Wednesday and based on the latest data the freezing line is much farther to the north than compared to the other models.
So at this point and based on the data, here's our forecast for freezing rain and or sleet on Thursday morning:
By Monday morning, the NAM will show the simulated radar and freezing line position all the way through Thursday morning and at that point we should have a pretty good idea as to the chance for freezing rain and potential impacts.
Keep checking back for additional updates as we track this developing storm system!
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist