Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Day! It’s a cold start to your Monday with temperatures in the 20s area-wide under clear skies. Temperatures will get into the low-50s, with some middle-50s south of I-20 possible. Enjoy this while it lasts though because an arctic cold front is expected to push through early Tuesday, bringing dangerously cold temperatures similar to what we saw in the beginning of the year. This cold blast will fortunately not last as long as that one though, but be prepared for any hard freeze warnings to be issued. There are already hard freeze watches in effect for Wayne, Choctaw, Marengo, and Clarke (AL) counties, and these may be expanded to other counties and/or upgraded to warnings.
There is also a chance of some snow that I’ll discuss now. The arctic front will have little moisture to work with as it pushes through our area, with models having the system dry out even further as it gets closer to I-20. There is still some uncertainty regarding how much snow we’ll see as models are still at odds with one another, but expect anywhere between a coating to an inch of snow when all said and done. Temperatures will be above freezing while any snow is occurring, so expect accumulations only on grassy surfaces. Winter storm watches have been issued by the National Weather Service in Birmingham for Sumter, Greene, Hale, and Pickens counties. Their reasoning is that there is still a lot of uncertainty in the amount of moisture available with the system and so snowfall amounts could be higher than what the models are saying. It’s certainly a possibility though I do not think winter storm watches will be expanded further. It’s something I’ll keep an eye on, but my official forecast as of now is a coating to an inch of snow, with an inch more likely to fall to the north and west of I-20/59. The snow looks to start Tuesday morning in northwestern counties and move through and clear our area by early Tuesday evening.
My biggest concern with this system is the cold temperatures that will follow. Morning lows Wednesday and Thursday will be in the low-to-mid-teens area-wide, with dangerous wind chills in the single digits to right around 0 in northern parts of our area Wednesday morning. Despite lots of sunshine on Wednesday, highs will only get to around 33 degrees. Like I said before, this cold snap won’t last nearly as long as the one from the beginning of year, but you’re still going to want to protect your four P’s during the middle part of this week. We warm up pretty quickly with highs back in the 40s by Thursday, the 50s by Friday, and the 60s by Saturday. Other than a stray shower on Saturday, the next chances of rain move in sometime between Sunday and Monday with a cold front.