Rainy changes start Thursday, with a dwindling chance for snow Sunday

Two storm systems will bring rain to the Tennessee Valley. Rain will fall on both Thursday and Saturday. Any rain left Saturday night and early Sunday morning could change to snow in spots as the precipitation winds down.

Posted: Jan 16, 2019 3:43 PM
Updated: Jan 16, 2019 10:27 PM

Two storm systems are still on track to affect the Tennessee Valley. The first storm system will bring rain on Thursday. The second storm system will bring rain on Saturday. Some deep cold will follow that second storm system this weekend. It will be cold enough that if any moisture wraps around the back edge of the storm system on Sunday, it could fall as snow rather than rain. The rain is a guarantee. The snow is iffy, and not everyone will see it - if anyone sees it at all.

The first of the two storm systems is organizing over the Great Plains Wednesday afternoon and evening. That storm system will track eastward and bring to the Tennessee Valley on Thursday. Rain will begin increasing over Northwest Alabama during the morning drive. Most of us will get through the morning drive rainfree, but rain will steadily increase all across the area through noon. The rain will fall, mostly lightly, through the evening drive and into the evening before it starts breaking up. You can encounter occasional breaks, but Thursday will be an overall rainy day. This first system will bring between a quarter-inch and a half-inch of rain.

The second storm system is blasting areas along the West Coast Wednesday afternoon and evening. Heavy rain there can cause flash flooding and landslides. Snow is falling in the mountains well inland. That storm system will affect the Tennessee Valley this weekend. Rain will increase quickly after 6 AM Saturday and fall through Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. Colder air will arrive starting around midnight. It's possible for rain to change to snow, but that doesn't mean everyone will get snow. It's entirely possible that no one gets snow. That's especially true since we will be right on the edge of even the small chance for snow. Snow will mostly melt rather than accumulate, though a light dusting is possible on cold surfaces like the metal of our vehicles. This second system will bring 1-2 inches of rain and water from any melted snow. 

With or without the snow, slippery roads from rain will be an issue. Right now, icing doesn't look to be an issue except on lightly-traveled, high elevation roads. By the time temperatures are cold enough for black ice to be an issue, most of the moisture will have evaporated from the road surface. A much bigger impact may be the 30-degree temperature drop from Saturday to Sunday, then Monday will be even colder. Temperatures can drop into the teens Monday morning, so remember to dress in several layers of warm clothing when outdoors. We will also need to leave faucets dripping Sunday night.

This forecast can change as new data providing measurements of the conditions of the atmosphere are available. That new data comes from our routine measurements and twice daily weather balloon launches. As the forecast evolves, be sure to stay up-to-date with new information daily. Don't see one forecast and assume that's exactly how this weekend will play out.

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