Warming Trend Continues – Strong Storms Next Week?

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After a cloudy start, today turned out to be a spectacular day across the Tennessee Valley, with temperatures right around, or slightly above average for late January. Across southern middle Tennessee, temperatures struggled to reach 50 degrees, most stayed in the mid to upper 40s, whereas across North Alabama, everyone warmed into the low to mid 50s.  The official high at the Huntsville International Airport and at the North West Regional Airport in Muscle Shoals was 54 degrees.

Temperatures this evening will cool into the upper 30s for most by 9:00-10:00 pm and by sunrise tomorrow, temperatures will be in the low to mid 30s.  We’ve been watching a batch of light showers moving across north/central Mississippi over the past few hours.  Below is the regional satellite and radar.

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Based on observations, not all of the showers have been reaching the ground and they’ve been showing a weakening trend over the past hour or so. There will be a slight chance for an isolated light shower/drizzle this evening (before midnight) if these hold together, in west Alabama. Since our air mass is so dry, I do think most will stay dry, with just some increasing clouds.

The warming trend will continue into early next week as the ridge of high pressure builds in from the west, with surface high pressure shifting east, allowing for a southerly wind. High temperatures Sunday will warm into the mid to upper 50s, with highs near 70 degrees by Tuesday.  This warm up and also moisture increase, will be ahead of a potent storm system that will be developing to our west and approaching the Tennessee Valley by late Tuesday into Wednesday.  As of right now there looks to be the potential for a few strong storms, with the main concern being strong to damaging wind gusts.  The Storm Prediction Center has outlined the Tennessee Valley for Day 5 in their Day 4-8 Severe Weather Outlook for the potential for severe storms.

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This is something we will continue to monitor, specific details are still unclear, but models have come into a pretty decent agreement with the timing of the showers and storms, which is sometime Tuesday evening and into early Wednesday.  Likely a squall line of storms will be entering Northwest Alabama and adjacent southern middle Tennessee during that time and will pick up speed as it progresses eastward across the region.  We will continue to update the forecast as needed and will have a better idea of potential storm strength within the next 24-48 hours.

Heavy rain is also a possibility, with stronger storms.  The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center Quantitative Precipitation Forecast for Tuesday evening through Thursday evening shows 1-2 inches of rain for the Tennessee Valley.

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- Jennifer Watson

Twitter: @JWatson_Wx

Facebook: Jennifer Watson WHNT