As of 10:25 am, the cold front has traversed across most of Central Alabama and is currently located just north of the I-85 corridor in the southeastern parts of the area. This system is a little different than most we see as much of the shower activity is behind the front with just a few scattered showers out ahead of it.
At this time, temperatures are dropping across the area behind the front. Haleyville is now down to 41 degrees. Cullman is at 46 degrees. Birmingham is down to 52 degrees. Out ahead of the front, Auburn is at 72 degrees while Troy is the warm spot at 73 degrees.
The above animation is from the latest run of the high-resolution NAM valid today from 12:00 pm to midnight. At noon, we see that the changeover is occurring over the extreme northwestern corner of the state, and as the temperatures continue to drop throughout the day, that changeover will move more into the northern parts of the state through the afternoon hours. It looks like a nice band of snow may set up over the north and northwestern parts of North Alabama that may extend into the northwest corner of Central Alabama around 5:00 pm. This band will shrink as we continue through the evening and into the late-night hours with all wintry precipitation coming to an end by midnight.
During that brief window of heavier snowfall in that band (from roughly 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm), we could see some minor accumulations in grassy locations, maybe as much as 1/10th of an inch, in the northwestern parts of Central Alabama (possibly all of Marion and Winston counties, along with the northern parts of Lamar, Fayette, Walker, Cullman, Blount, Etowah, and Cherokee counties). No worries with travel issues with the snow as anything that does stick will not last long as temperatures will still be above freezing at that point.
What we’ll have to watch for is the potential for flash-freezing of any liquid remaining on elevated surfaces in the higher elevations of the extreme northern parts of Central Alabama during the pre-dawn hours on Wednesday. Temperatures north of a line from Fayette to Birmingham to Anniston will drop below the freezing point. No travel issues are expected on roadways as surface temperatures will remain well above freezing. Plus, any ice that does form on those elevated surfaces will quickly melt as we’ll have full sunshine and temperatures will quickly climb above freezing by 8:00 am.
For the rest of Central Alabama, it will be nothing for a cold December rain. This is not an event that you will need to go out a buy up all of the milk and bread in the grocery stores, but some of you will do it anyways. I’ll have updates throughout the day.