Thursday, January 4, 2024

A Couple of Major Rainmakers on the Way in Dynamic Winter Pattern


Friday (High 50, Low 26): Mostly sunny and breezy during the day. Rainy and breezy at night. 

Saturday (High 51, Low 39): Mostly sunny with lighter winds. An isolated shower is still possible, mainly in the morning. 

Sunday (High 53, Low 37): Mostly sunny. Seasonably cool.

(Extended Outlook)

Monday (High 55, Low 30): Increasing clouds and breezy with rain showers moving in at night. 

Tuesday (High 60, Low 42): Rainy and windy. 

Wednesday (High 49, Low 33): Becoming mostly sunny.

Thursday (High 52, Low 28): Mostly sunny. 


Viernes (Máxima 50, Mínima 26): Mayormente soleado y ventoso durante el día. Lluvioso y ventoso por la noche.

Sábado (Máxima 51, Mínima 39): Mayormente soleado con vientos más ligeros. Todavía es posible que se produzcan lluvias aisladas, principalmente por la mañana.

Domingo (Máxima 53, Mínima 37): Mayormente soleado. Estacionalmente fresco.

(Perspectiva Extendida)

Lunes (Máxima 55, Mínima 30): Nubes crecientes y ventoso con lluvias que se acercan por la noche.

Martes (Máxima 60, Mínima 42): lluvioso y ventoso.

Miércoles (Máxima 49, Mínima 33): Se pondrá mayormente soleado.

Jueves (Máxima 52, Mínima 28): Mayormente soleado.

(Mi español no es perfecto. Yo lo intento.) 


Satellite data today thanks to the fine folks who run WeatherNerds. If you have never seen their site, it is worth a bookmark. 

Our winters in the Tennessee Valley are usually not that big a deal compared to the rest of the country, but still, here are some friendly reminders about stuff that is largely common sense, but we all forget sometimes in the hustle and bustle of other things. Of course thanks to our local National Weather Service office in Huntsville for keeping that posted on their homepage for easy reference. 


At the Noon hour, it is overcast and 37 degrees in Cullman. The dewpoint-temperature is 32 degrees, making the relative humidity 81%. Winds are from the North at 7 miles per hour, which makes the wind chill factor 32 degrees. Barometric pressure is 30.26 inches and holding fairly steady. The visibility is 9 miles. It got all the way down to 4 miles earlier this morning when there was a lot of fog. 

It is also overcast in Jasper, 39 degrees there, dewpoint of 34, making the relative humidity 81% down that way too. Winds are from the North sustained at 8 miles per hour, with higher gusts up to 14 mph, which makes the wind chill 33. Pressure is 30.27 inches and steady. Visibility is 9 miles. 

It is overcast and 36 degrees in Haleyville at this hour. The dewpoint is 33, making the relative humidity 89%. Winds are variable, which means they can't make up their mind yet which direction they want to blow from, at 5 mph. That makes the wind chill factor 32 degrees for the home of 911. Pressure is 30.28 inches, and I must salute this station for also providing it in millibars, 1025.7 millibars here, which millibars is the measurement you see on real weather maps (such as ye might find above). Visibility is 8 miles, which again, is an improvement over what it was earlier this morning. 

Elsewhere around the region, it is partly cloudy and 44 degrees in Fort Payne. Overcast in 39 in Decatur. Overcast and 39 also in Huntsville. Overcast and 38 in Muscle Shoals, another site where the winds are "variable" until this high pressure system gets better established later today and afterward. It is overcast and 41 in Tupelo, and the winds are screeching a little from the North at 15 mph. Visibility is 10 miles there oddly enough despite the other raw conditions. Mostly cloudy and 41 in Memphis. And Nashville is partly cloudy and 42. Only site I've seen today with East winds . . . blowing at 8 miles per hour. 

It is looking like the forecast for today busted, in the sense that the clouds are being slower to move on out of here behind this latest low pressure system, and it is keeping our temperatures down below what we expected as well. So we eat some humble pie and try again. Though I much prefer pumpkin pie this time of year . . . don't you? 

The winter season tends to be active sometimes, and that is certainly the case right now. Tomorrow will provide a brief break from the cloudiness and raininess, but only a brief one. The day will feature mostly sunshine, with a High near 50 and a Low down about 25-26 degrees in the morning. It will still be breezy at times. Winds will be "variable" since we've got another system coming at us so quick. 

Model guidance is now clearly showing that the rain from this system will move in tomorrow night. 

But it blows on through here quickly. I doubt we see much, if any, rain on Saturday. Even in the morning, the chance is so minimal I may leave it out of the official forecast up top. The ECMWF does want to drag the stuff along a little more slowly, but the GFS/NAM looks more believable to me in this pattern. Then again, we got a nasty surprise with clouds hanging around today, so guess I'll keep a 20% chance in there for the morning anyway. Expecting a High of 50 or so and a Low near 40. Winds should be dying down. 

High pressure will move into the region on Sunday. The NAM makes it look stronger, but not showing that since I don't really trust the NAM for much of anything at 78 hours out. Overall we should see more sun than clouds on Sunday, and the High should be in the lower 50's. Low should stay in the upper 30's, no quick, sharp blast of cold air behind this latest system. And the departure of the moisture is more gradual this time, as you can observe by stepping outside today. 

Then on Monday, our next storm system is taking shape out in the Plains. It looks like a strong one that could bring a significant winter storm to other parts of the country, please note, not around here. The Low should finally drop to about 30 Monday morning as we finally get some of that drier air and can cool more at night. During the day Monday we'll see mostly sunshine and just have winds picking up, a breeze ahead of this strong system that we'll be on the warm side of. We'll "warm" up to about the mid-50's Monday. 

But Monday night into Tuesday, rain will move in, the air probably not unstable enough to support thunderstorms for most of North Alabama (or Southern Tennessee). It will be windy with such a strong low pressure system passing through our general region. The High on Tuesday should be up near 60, the Low around 40 or so. 

And like I said, other parts of the country to our North and West may see significant snow or ice from this, but I'll let them worry about it. Not expecting anything like that around here. And on the other end of the spectrum, not expecting severe thunderstorms with this. However, the gradient winds could still be an issue for some people. Usually with a system like this, have to watch for scattered power outages from high wind gusts not associated with thunderstorms. 

Some snowflakes are possible Tuesday night, perhaps into the dark hours of Wednesday morning, but for most of us, if it happens, it will only be flurries. And even along the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, the potential for light accumulation looks low. We're going to have warm temperatures, a lot of rain, and this system moving along pretty quickly. So even up there along the Plateau, I'd be surprised if many people even saw a dusting on the grass. 

Then that occluded front and monster low pressure system moves into New England/the Atlantic Ocean as we get into Wednesday of next week. We'll see mostly sunny skies around here, High in upper 40's, Low in lower 30's. Again, even if we see a few snowflakes very early Wednesday morning, no significant impact is anticipated, even in the high elevations of Tennessee. Probably most of us will see a few flurries if we're lucky. 

Then Thursday also looks mostly sunny with a High getting up to about 50 or so, the Low dipping back into the upper 20's. 

With a pattern this dynamic, I don't feel like it would be right to venture into the land of tea leaves and try to forecast more than seven days in advance. It would even be an educated guess, more like a plain old guess. If you want to look at the model trends on your own, that's fine. And plenty of other sites have a 10-Day-Outlook. Or unfortunately, there are even some sites that claim to be able to predict beyond that. I avoid those sites. If you want that long-range a forecast, just read the farmer's almanac. Or guess at it yourself. 

Rainfall amounts for this forecast period are expected to be significant. Probably looking at up to 2 inches for Tennessee counties and more like up to 3 inches for Alabama counties. Isolated spots, mainly on the Alabama side, may see closer to 4 inches of rainfall over the next seven days. 

And as already mentioned, the snow accumulations are expected to stay well to our North and West. This is a strong storm system, but we are on the warm side of it, just not warm enough to have a severe weather potential. 

Though some of that is possible down by the Gulf Coast. This storm system is a powerful one, but in North Alabama and Southern Middle Tennessee, we are in that sweet spot to only get beneficial rain and maybe (on the back side of it) a few flurries that would be pretty to look at if anybody's up to see them. 

And as I'm finishing this up, the sun is breaking out strong. Maybe we'll get up into the mid-40's after all. So the forecast wasn't a total bust. 

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