Winter has a firm grip on North Alabama and it won't let go any time soon. Moisture is creeping in from the south and scattered showers can freeze on contact. On bridges and overpasses, this can create a thin glaze of ice along and west of I-65 late Friday night into early Saturday morning. It isn't a widespread threat, but you should be careful if you're out on the roads early.
The highest impact event starts Sunday night and lingers through early Tuesday. It begins as freezing rain in northwest Alabama, where travel impacts are most likely. In fact, some data sources are keying in on the potential for enough ice to cause fallen limbs and power outages, so NOW is the time to prepare. Make sure your emergency kits are well stocked in the event you lose power and/or are unable to leave the house.
Impacts may be mitigated a bit farther east by the fact that this event will start as a cold rain before transitioning to freezing rain. The exact line between that cold rain and ice can't be determined just yet and oftentimes isn't set in stone until the precipitation starts falling. Right now, locations along the I-65 corridor will likely see impacts from freezing rain with greater impact even farther west. Toward Sand Mountain, data sources indicate mainly just a cold rain. Of course, a transition to snow in northwest Alabama would lower the threats of ice accumulation but still create travel issues.
As we start nailing down forecast ice accumulations, here's a guide as to what they mean:
.25" or less: windshields coated, bridges are slick, light ice on trees
.25" to .50": tree limbs break or sag, most roads are icy, power outages
.50" or more: widespread tree and power line damage, road dangerous or impassible
Road crews are already prepping for this event. There is a little good news when it comes to the forecast...the salt crews use should be able to work on our roads given that forecast temperatures don't drop below 15 degrees. Salt begins to lose its effectiveness below that temperature.
We're not totally out of the woods after Tuesday. Yet another dynamic system is poised to rake across North Alabama by the end of the week. Expect another round of rain and potential winter weather to head our way.
We’ll be monitoring conditions and alerting you with the most accurate information via the WAAY 31 StormTracker Early Warning Radar Network. In addition to watching WAAY 31 News each morning, afternoon and night, you can access all three of our radars HERE.
You also can download our WAAY 31 Weather App to stay informed. More info HERE