Winter Storm Possible Wednesday Night and Thursday [VIDEO]
Another round of winter weather is set to impact Alabama Wednesday and Thursday; West Alabama could be significantly impacted by freezing rain and sleet. ABC 33/40 Chief Meteorologist James Spann explains the threat in further detail in the latest edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video above. The latest winter storm could bring ice accumulations of up to a quarter of an inch to West Alabama--that's enough to cause power outages and severely impact travel. Here's more from the ABC 33/40 Weather Blog:
WINTER STORM THREAT: Post frontal precipitation will bring the threat of a high impact winter storm to North and parts of Central Alabama Wednesday night and Thursday. Understand we are still a few days away from this, but confidence in the forecast is growing.
TIMING: Freezing rain and sleet could begin over the northwest corner of Alabama as early as 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, when temperatures are expected to go below freezing. For Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden, the core threat of freezing rain/sleet will come from roughly midnight Wednesday night through 10:00 a.m. Thursday.
PLACEMENT: Ice accumulation will be possible along and north of a line from Livingston to Clanton to Roanoke. Isolated issues are possible even south of that line.
PRECIPITATION TYPE AND AMOUNT: The cold air initially will be very shallow; warmer air between 5,000 and 10,000 feet will mean the initial precipitation will fall as sleet (ice pellets) and freezing rain (liquid). Then, as the cold air deepens, it changes to snow before ending.
Ice accumulation to 0.25″ is likely; some spots could get more. On top of that, snow totals of 1-3″ are possible, mainly along and west of a line from Sulligent to Cullman to Scottsboro (we do note the GFS is more aggressive with snow totals). Snow amounts to the west and south will be lighter. The greatest concern is the ice accumulation; a long period of freezing rain leads to an ice storm.
IMPACT: This winter storm should severely impact travel Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and there could be enough ice accumulation for power outages. We expect a north wind of 10-20 mph during the event, which will add to the possibility of tree branches and power lines being impacted by the ice.
TEMPERATURES: Most North Alabama communities stay below freezing all day Thursday, and where there is snow and ice accumulation, temperatures early Friday morning will drop into the 10-15 degree range, with even potential for isolated single digit lows. We then warm above freezing by mid-morning Friday.
IMPORTANT: This forecast can, and will change. The event Wednesday night/Thursday could be a minor situation with mostly a cold rain, and brief change to wintry precipitation on the back side, or it could be a high impact ice storm. The truth is probably somewhere in between.
The graphic below from the National Weather Service in Birmingham shows areas expected to be the most affected by Wednesday's winter storm.
We'll keep you updated about the impending threat of winter weather throughout the week; check back for the latest forecasts and, should the situation warrant, school and business closings.