FIRST ALERT FOR FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET TOMORROW: A winter weather advisory has been issued for our area tomorrow in preparation for a wintry blast that will have a significant impact on our area. Moisture will begin to lift in overnight as shallow dense arctic air mass begins to spill into the state. As this precipitation falls in the colder air, and with temperatures tumbling into the 20s tonight, winter precipitation in the form of freezing rain and sleet will be possible. This could begin over west Alabama as early as 3 a.m. and spread east throughout the morning hours. This will result in the possibility of accumulating ice and sleet that could result in travel issues on Sunday. If you have travel plans west or southwest, like Tide fans visiting New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, I would prepare for possible delays and be prepared to take alternate routes. I would be most concerned about possible icing on roadways, especially bridges, along routes like Highway 69 and 43 south of Tuscaloosa and I-20/59 between Tuscaloosa and Meridian, including all secondary roads.
WHEN AND WHERE: This winter weather threat will include western portions of Jefferson, Shelby, and Chilton Counties, and points west. These named counties have also been included in the winter weather advisory for Sunday. The wintry mix could begin as early as 3 a.m. to the far west and will continue through midday. Maximum glaze or ice accumulations could top 0.20” in some areas. Keep in mind freezing rain will fall as rain and roads may seem wet, but the rain will be freezing on contact so ice will be hard to locate. If you are out and about in the morning and in these advisory zones, use extreme caution and if possible, I would avoid travel in the advisory zone. The news begins at 5 a.m. in the morning on WBRC and we will have detailed information regarding trouble spots and where icing may be occurring. Also, check the weather app for updates on the roadway situation. Areas encountering icing and delays will be highlighted. Temperatures will only top out around 34º tomorrow with many locations remaining below freezing throughout the day. So with this kind of cold and recent rounds of frigid weather, we want to highlight the likely possibility of icing even with light amounts of precipitation.
PREPARE FOR THE DEEP FREEZE: Frigid arctic air will pour into the region tomorrow and on Monday. Temperatures will dive into the teens Sunday night, with highs remaining below freezing on Monday. In fact, most areas will remain below freezing through most of Wednesday. Parts of our area could drop into the single digits Monday night as lows average near 12º. Now is the time to make sure faucets are covered and pipes are protected. I would take actions necessary to protect livestock and make sure everything is properly winterized. Check on loved ones, friends, and make sure the pets have a warm shelter. As the cold air arrives tomorrow and into Monday, wind chills will drop into the teens and low 20s. The good news is the winter precipitation threat will end tomorrow evening as the frigid/dry air arrives. So we will have sunshine for the start of the New Year. Another surge of arctic air arrives on Thursday so lows will remain in the low teens with highs back into low 30s for the end of the week. Some forecast guidance suggests we could see more single digits across parts of the area next Saturday morning. So bottom line, brace for the coldest stretch of weather we’ve seen in quite some time. Its possible this could end up being the coldest week of the year.
BOWL GAMES: I’m still expecting dry weather for New Year’s Day for the cities hosting the big bowl games. The frigid air will also impact these locations, with highs in the low 30s in Atlanta on Monday and highs nearing 40º in New Orleans.
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