Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Local Forecast January 3rd

It is sunny and 41 degrees in Cullman. Winds are from the South at 5 miles per hour. I could make note of the other conditions, but none of you would care. 

Well, okay the dewpoint is 34 degrees. I've even heard James Spann say he doesn't care about relative humidity anymore, but it is 76%. Just for the sake of tradition. And the barometric pressure is 30.12 inches and steady. Not sure why the Cullman station doesn't provide it in millibars. But since I'm too lazy to make that calculation myself, as much a willing victim of this dumbed-down modern culture as any of the rest of you (I doubt any brilliant souls like Greg Carbin saunter by this blog, but if so, I'm not talkin' to you about being dumbed-down . . . it's just most of us), I used this wonderful free tool from the National Weather Service to find out that this is 1019.98 millibars. 

Told ya' you wouldn't care. 

That low pressure system is mainly bringing rain to our South, especially along the Gulf Coast, where they have enough instability for a few thunderstorms. Up here what rain is falling is light, and it's not covering up the region as much as you might think from the radar. Most places are overcast, but again, a glance at satellite imagery does not tell the whole story. Some places like Cullman and Gadsden are getting some sunlight. 

Tomorrow the high pressure will take over behind this system, and we'll be sunny again but still breezy. Start the day at about 25 degrees, which with the wind will feel more like 20 or slightly lower. And then only warm to about 49 or 50 degrees in the afternoon. 

Then Friday looks mostly sunny and staying breezy, High near 50 again, the Low not quite as cold, more like 26-27. As if anyone will feel much difference. 

But Friday evening and night, rain is expected to move in with another trough/low pressure system. And it will last into Saturday, at least the morning hours, but I lean toward the European guidance that shows it might be evening before it all clears out. Looks like a decent soaking rain event for many of us. High on Saturday should be hovering around 50 again, the morning Low closer to 40, probably upper 30's, 37-39 range. Because of the extra moisture coming in and just a cool rain. 

High pressure takes over again on Sunday, and clouds will be on the decrease, partly to mostly sunny skies, a High in the lower 50's and the morning Low in about the mid-30's, though depending on how many clouds hang around at night, some of us may see upper 30's. 

Monday is another day of a break in the action in this dynamic pattern. Expected to feature mostly sunshine and be breezy until the night hours, when we will get our next round of rain. The day is expected to stay dry and have plenty of sunshine. But you'll feel this next system blowing its way in. High on Monday in the mid-50's and the Low briefly dips back into the lower 30's with less moisture around. 

This is a really strong low pressure system as seen here on the GFS guidance.

The ECMWF has a slight difference in timing and placement, but that is to be expected several days in advance of what could be a significant winter storm for some folks up North in the Ohio Valley and getting up toward New England. Parts of the Mid-Atlantic states may be affected by it, also the Great Lakes. 

At least those are some rough estimates when it's nearly a full week away. Local forecasts will be fine-tuned between now and then. Not worried about any snow around here, except on the back side of this, might have to watch for any light snow showers if any moisture wraps around. But that is beyond what I want to speculate on at this point. Always have to watch for that, but with such a dynamic pattern with more than one system to evaluate, it is not worth worrying about at this point. 

But it will be rainy and windy here Monday night into Tuesday. Probably see a High near 60 or at least upper 50's on Tuesday and a Low in the lower 40's. Of course with such temperatures, no snow is expected around here, just rain. Instability also will probably stay too low for many thunderstorms, if any. 

On Wednesday it looks like we start to clear up, with a High dropping back down into the 40's, the Low in roughly the mid-30's. So with those temperatures, I am not worried about any snow potential around here. Of course you do have to watch things this time of year in case any trends change. But even on the back side of this system, I doubt we have anything to worry about. All these systems lately have just brought us some beneficial rain or snow flurries at worst. 

We may very well see up to 3-4 inches of rain for this forecast period though, probably closer to 2 inches on the Tennessee side. Even for tonight, there was some speculation for snow flurries or light snow showers, mainly in Northeast Alabama on the back side of this system as the colder air comes back in. Even if that were to happen, I think it would just be flurries and barely anything sticking even to the grass. And that's my gut feeling for the system next Tuesday into Wednesday. There were people speculating on us having a big snowstorm around the 10th of this month though, a week ago or so. Sometimes I don't want to fuel the fires and just want to state the basic facts as I interpret them. But sometimes I feel the need to try to counteract such outlandish forecast speculations with a little logic. The probability of seeing any meaningful snow accumulation around here next Tuesday night or early Wednesday looks very low. And it would not surprise me in the slightest if we got by without any snow at all. The setup does not look favorable for us to get wintry showers on the back side of it, just a low-end possibility that forecasters have to keep an eye on just in case of any surprises. And if the average person fixated on every remote possibility that forecasters have to keep in the backs of their minds just in case, then sales of tylenol would double or triple. And brain surgeons might be trying to operate on a lot more aneurysms. 

So yeah, try to stay warm, if you are so inclined. And not every day looks cold. 

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