Friday is the earliest I feel comfortable mentioning any widespread sunshine for us. In the meantime, we're expecting clouds, fog, rain, and even a few snow showers. Yikes - a few snow showers! Don't get too excited yet. This is one model solution and even then it would be a light snowfall for the Northern portion of our viewing area.
Both GFS and NAM are indicating a good chance for rainfall beginning tomorrow night into Thursday. Forecast models have continued to move the rain chances farther north. The heaviest rainfall will be south of I-20.
NAM critical thickness values are indicating a brief changeover from rain to light snow showers across Marion, Winston, Cullman, Etowah, and Blount Counties. As you can see from the map, the most abundant moisture will remain south of the freezing line on Thursday. While this is something to monitor, I do not foresee any travel issues with this event. If we see any snowfall, it would likely be short-lived during the later morning and early afternoon for our northern counties.
For most of the the Fox6 viewing area temperatures will be well-above freezing during the time we have precipitation.
Through our weather graphics system, I have plotted where we "could" see some snowfall based on the NAM output.
Again, this is nothing to get alarmed about. This is a small chance for snowfall based on the output of one model. As part of the larger picture, I think we'll see more widespread rain Thursday - especially prior to 3pm. Clearing skies are expected late Thursday night with the return of sunshine on Friday. The weekend is looking drier and warmer with highs in the upper 50s to lower 60s.
Weekend Forecast: Mostly sunny with chilly mornings. Lows will be in the lower 30s with highs in the upper 50s to lower 60s. We should continue to see sunshine on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holilday Monday.
Fox6 will have a full rundown on your forecast coming up on our news at 5pm.
Fox6 Chief Meteorologist
Lots of rain in the forecast today, tonight, and tomorrow. It seems like we're on the "weekend plan" when it comes to rain. This system is similar to what we had last weekend with a warm front lifting to our north followed by a cool front.
While most of us will experience just rain, clouds, and a few thunderstorms there are a few hazards worth mentioning.
1) Flash flooding and river flooding. The ground is saturated and rivers levels are high. With an estimated 2-3+" of rainfall arriving by Sunday morning we will see some flood issues.
2) Damaging winds. A few storms south of I-20/59 and west of I-65 could produce some gusty winds. Areas we'll watch closely will include Sumter, Greene, Hale, Perry, Bibb, and Marengo Counties.
3) Tornado threat. Most of the wind shear will lift to the northeast by the time the instability arrives. However, it's possible we could see an isolated weak and short-lived tornado. The best chances for this would be South Alabama including the Mobile area.
The Storm Prediction Center keeps the highest risk for severe storms to our west tomorrow with a Slight Risk. The primary risk will be damaging straight-line winds.
This graphic should give you an excellent idea on the timing of the most active weather tomrrow.
For weather junkies, the NAM simulated reflectivity does a pretty good job on the timing of this weekend's rainy weather. The simulated radar for tonight indicates light to moderate widespread rain tonight. Heavier precipitation remains to our west.
Tomorrow morning we'll likelly see some breaks in the rain. We will wake up to low clouds and mist. The cloud ceiling will likely be 1,000ft or less. Again, most of the rain will be to our west with south winds picking up and transportating a good bit of moisture to the area. Expect temperatures around 50 degrees.
During the day Saturday, we'll continue to see "hit and miss" showers and even a few thunderstorms. The Birmingham Bowl may even escape much of the rain. I would still expect some showers, but non-stop steady rain is unlikely at that time. Afternoon high temperatures will reach the mid to upper 60s. Yes, that's a bit warm for this time of year. This simulated radar for noon tomorrow.
By this time, you can clearly see a line of storms and heavy rain developing to our west. The main event for us will occur Saturday night into Sunday morning. This is the period with the highest rain chances, heaviest rainfall, and greatest potential for thunderstorms. Rainfall amounts could easily exceed 2" with some of these storms. The heavier rainfall will begin moving into the area after 7pm.
The NAM and RPM most agree with the line of storms arriving early Saturday evening. This is the RPM output for tomorrow at 8pm.
Expect rain to continue through Saturday night and linger through early Sunday morning. In West Alabama, the forecast should be dry Sunday morning. A few showers will linger east of I-65 through mid-morning with some clearing during the afternoon. If you're in Tuscaloosa, Hamilton, Jasper, or even Birmingham - you will likely see some sunshine Sunday afternoon.
After the system clears, a powerful cold front will move through the state. The dry air and high pressure will give us plenty of sunshine in the coming days. The tradeoff - it's going to be cold. As Jill Gilardi mentioned in a previous post the temperatures will be chilly with lows in the lower 20s and maybe a bit colder next week.
Stay with Fox6 for updates on your weekend weather. We'll be around to help you plan ahead.
Fox6 Chief Meteorologist
The GFS, which is one of the long range computer models continues to hint at the possibility of snow though non-accumulating on the morning of Christmas Eve. So I wanted to know why the model was spitting out snow when typically it's hard to get snow when there is no moisture or lift in the snow growth zone and the answer could be icing!!! You can still get ice to form in clouds as long as the temperature within the cloud is not above -4° C and the temperature forecast at 10AM in Birmingham where moisture is 80% in the cloud is -4.2° C. I learned that frozen precipitation will be observed if the saturated cloud layer extends to the surface. In this case, it doesn't 100% so it may be tough for precipitation to reach the ground. Because there is no moisture or lift in the dendritic layer or snow growth layer it will be tough to get snowflakes and so snow grains might be possible if they even reach the ground. It's all about cloud physics!!!
What are snow grains? Precipitation of very small white and opaque grains of ice. The clouds that can produce this type of precipitation are stratus, stratocumulus and perhaps fog. They form in and fall from shallow clouds and are the cold weather equivalent to drizzle. Accumulation is usually light when it comes to snow grains because the lift in the atmosphere is usually weak. The clouds are usually made up of ice and water droplets with some supercooled droplets as well.
Here is a picture of what they look like:
CHRISTMAS EVE OVERVIEW
So with that said, I would say there is a slight chance for central and north Alabama to see some snow grains on the morning of Christmas eve. Obviously the higher elevations stand a better chance and perhaps a coating on elevated surfaces if the GFS model is correct this far out. Ground temperatures will be too warm for the snow to stick and roadways will be just wet for travelers. Not all long range models agree on this scenario. If the EURO model pans out then the chance for some wintry precipitation is pretty much zero. The EURO is slightly warmer and shows much less low level moisture than the GFS. So snow lovers, this is still a long shot for a few snow grains and don't get your hopes up for a white Christmas.
Over time, I'll be monitoring the moisture field closely and the duration of saturation. Also, if any bit of lift develops this could alter the forecast too. Overall, it will be almost impossible for dendrites aka snow flakes to form with this kind of sounding forecast but at a max drizzle or snow grains might develop where moisture extends all the way to the surface and for a long period of time.
SNOWFALL FORECAST VIA BOTH LONG RANGE MODELS:
That's the latest...
Let me know if you have any questions,
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist
The main long range computer models that simulate the future of the atmosphere show completely different solutions for what "might" happen on Monday the 17th. Below are some forecast images from both models for Monday morning of the 17th.
Our "friend" is the EURO as of now:
Our "foe" as of now is the GFS:
What is the GFS showing the rest of the day?
Cold air surging southeast, precipitation changing over to sleet and snow though the best lift and moisture exiting meaning a small window for wintry weather. GFS hints at a light dusting possible across northern Alabama on Monday which is 252 hours from now.
This is a long ways out and a lot can change between now and then. It is something we'll be monitoring in the coming days. I expect the models to continue to flip flop on possible solutions. Be sure to check back over the weekend for additional long range updates.
If you have any questions feel free to ask,
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist
Hurricane Gonzalo made landfall in Bermuda at 8:30pm as a category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 mph. It's the second time this week that Bermuda was hit by a tropical cyclone. Gonzalo downed trees, caused flooding and knocked out power to thousands. The system continues to weaken and race off to the northeast thanks to the jet stream and the fact that the system is moving over cooler water. By Tuesday, Gonzalo will be an extra tropical low and bring rain and gusty winds to the United Kingdom.
Hurricane Gonzalo Stats:
Hurricane Gonzalo Future Storm Track:
That was the scene in some spots this morning in Oneonta! Also got a report of light frost on the hood of a car in Dogtown on Lookout Mountain. A viewer in Vigo, which is east of Piedmont also reported the first frost of the season with a low of 35°.
You can get frost to form even when the air temperature recorded is about freezing. Most weather stations are several feet off the ground and the air is actually a little warmer at that level than the temperature at the ground. So while it might be 35° at sensor level, it may be 31° right at the surface. If you have enough moisture at the surface and freezing temperatures then you'll get frost to form.
Our coolest weather watcher report as of 8:30AM was 33° in Oneonta!
So did we tie or break a new record low? The answer is no, but we sure came close in a few spots.
The high pressure system that allowed us to dip so low this morning slides eastward today and temperatures warm from here on out!
Hope you continue to enjoy the fall air!
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist
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