Rain will fade to an end through about 10 PM. The rain is brought to you by a cold front. The cold air behind that cold front has prompted a Freeze Watch from midnight Friday night until 8 AM Saturday morning. A Freeze Watch means temperatures could drop below freezing in 24-36 hours. This watch will likely be upgraded to a warning during the day Friday.
The Freeze Watch includes Lauderdale, Newton, Neshoba, Kemper, Winston, Noxubee, and Leake counties in East Mississippi and Sumter, Marengo, Greene, Hale, and Pickens counties in West Alabama.
Sub-freezing temperatures are likely for more than three hours. Damage to unprotected crops and vegetation is possible.
Be ready for the cold at the high school football games. Remember to dress in several warm layers with the coat on top. Multiple layers is more effective at keeping you warm than just a heavy coat. Temperatures will be in the low-to-mid 40s with wind chills in the 30s at kickoff Friday evening. Some wind may be an issue for the passing and kicking game early in the games, too. The end of the games will easily be in the upper 30s with wind relaxing.
WINTRY PRECIPITATION POSSIBLE NEXT TUESDAY
Our other big story in weather is the potential for some icy precipitation on Tuesday morning. Like we said yesterday, nothing is guaranteed. Sleet is far more likely than snow -- if any wintry precipitation occurs at all. Rain will arrive Monday afternoon and fall through the night. We have a high level of confidence in that, though some variation in timing is possible. We also have a high level of confidence that extreme cold will arrive starting Tuesday morning. Where confidence is significantly lower is how the timing will line up with respect to the end of the precipitation and the arrival of the cold air. It's entirely possible the rain outruns the cold air, and all we get is rain. It's also possible than only portions of our area get icy precipitation while others get only rain.
With confidence so low, why talk about it? It's for two reasons. First, we want you to be aware of the possibility so you can consider options for preparing. That's especially true for businesses and school districts. The second reason we talk about it is we would rather give you a realistic forecast than you see it on one of the hype-mongering social media sites that only show you a worst-case scenario.
If it happens, the changeover will most likely take place Tuesday morning between about 6 AM and 8 AM. It likely will not last more than a couple of hours. Accumulation is possible if we can get the temperatures to cool to below freezing. Accumualation would be limited, but it won't take much to cause big problems. Remember ice as thick as a sheet of paper can send eighteen wheelers sliding. Four-wheel-drive is useless on ice. It helps you go. It doesn't help you stop.
THE NEXT 24 HOURS
Tonight's rain will wind down by 10 PM. The rest of tonight will become windy and colder. Lows by morning will be near 40 with mid-30s up north around Philadelphia and Louisville. Friday will be mostly cloudy and brisk. Highs will be near 53 degrees. A brisk 10-20 mph wind will hold wind chills back in the 30s to lower 40s throughout much of the day. Wind may hold into the early evening, but it will gradually relax after dark.