There are a lot of fast-paced weather changes coming over the next few days, but the biggest factors for us will be a large amount of rain and some very cold temperatures.
With any forecast, there is a certain amount of “play;” that is to say, there is some margin of error, and when it is this fast-paced, you have to take things day to day and expect some tweaks and changes along the way. Take Wednesday’s Seven Day Forecast for example:
That’s as big a roller coaster ride of temperatures and rain chances as you’ll get in a week’s time around here! So let’s address it issue by issue:
(1) Thursday’s chance of rain and storms: The Storm Prediction Center has a minimal risk of a few stronger thunderstorms in parts of Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi for Thursday:
There is just enough instability and shear for us to be cautious of any thunderstorms that develop Thursday afternoon and evening. We are not hitting the severe weather risk hard because we do not expect it to be a high-impact situation. Gusty winds with some heavier storms are possible, and with some shear, a few rotating storms cannot be ruled out. I can tell you this is not the kind of set-up that gives us the likelihood of a “watch.” Just be alert in case a warning has to be issued for your area; odds are, you won’t hear a peep out of your weather radio or smart phone app on Thursday, but have it on just in case.
(2) Cold Air and Freezing Rain: If you noticed that concrete sidewalks were wet all day today, that gives you an inkling into what ground temperatures are like right now: chilly but not extremely cold. Soil temperatures (2 inch depth or more) are around 48 to 52 degrees, and with this warm air in place through Friday night, we do not expect roads to even come close to icing over around here as rain tapers off as freezing rain late Friday into early Saturday morning.
This is guidance from NOAA’s WPC showing the probability of at least 0.01″ of freezing rain in 24 hours leading up to 6 PM Friday and 6 PM Saturday. If we get any freezing rain at all, it would generally be in the trees, on power lines, cars, and so on; significant winter weather is unlikely in Southern Tennessee and North Alabama with this round of cold and wet. It would also occur between 8 PM Friday and 5 AM Saturday leaving a small possibility for some patchy ice on bridges northwest of Moulton and Athens.
(3) More Rain, Milder Air Saturday Night & Sunday: While a major winter storm buries parts of West Tennessee and Arkansas in snow and ice, we will be warming up! Temperatures rise into the 50s with a good soaking rain on Sunday. In fact, some of us are going to get over five inches of rain through the next seven days. Flash flooding should not be a major issue here, but some streams and ditches could overflow their banks while heavy rain falls particularly on Sunday.
(4) Cold Blast Sunday Night: Arctic air moves in for the long haul Sunday night. Like Friday night’s precipitation, some of it could briefly turn over to light freezing rain, sleet, or even snow flurries, but the significant winter weather will be to our northwest.
(5) More Wintry Weather Ahead?: The latest run of the GFS comes into agreement with the European model showing potential for some light freezing rain Monday night into Tuesday of next week. This is a long way off, but seeing some consistency over the next few model runs will do a lot to increase confidence in the odds of this actually happening.
This is the GFS output for precipitation type on Tuesday morning at 7:00 AM –
Interesting weather days for sure!