By Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist, Alabama Emergency Management Agency
CLANTON –Wednesday, 4:15 pm February 17, 2021
The first thing is to check the NWS forecasts often this evening, as Warning and Watch Advisory areas may change.
If you live anywhere near or in the shaded colors in the map above, PLEASE stay at home, do not travel the remainder of today through Thursday morning unless an emergency. Heavy winter precipitation will occur once it begins meaning road impacts will begin immediately.
Precipitation will spread west to east the remainder of the afternoon into tonight, with the bulk of it ending in the Winter Warning/advisory areas between 4-8 am. A few snow flurries or snow showers could occur in far northern Alabama into Thursday afternoon adding up to an additional 1/2″ of snow.
Toward the I-59 corridor, the air is very dry this afternoon which means when precipitation begins, it will cool the air and a brief period of sleet could occur before changing to all rain, even with surface temperatures above freezing.
The good news is that temperatures along and south of I-59 have warmed into the upper 40s to middle 50s. North of I-20 and east of I-65, temperatures are in the middle to upper 40s. Temperatures have remained below freezing all day north of a Carrollton – Jasper – Huntsville line where the highest winter precipitation totals will occur.
Temperatures will struggle to get into the middle 30s north of a Hamilton – Cullman – Huntsville line on Thursday, and in areas where heavy snow occurs, may remain at or below freezing all day. Temperatures will get above freezing, albeit briefly, in northwest AL Friday afternoon before again dropping below 32 degrees after sunset.
Temperatures will finally get above freezing on Saturday which will melt most of the snow and ice.
Farther south, a few severe storms are possible with the potential for a tornado or two south of a Chatom – Troy – Phenix City line as early as 9 pm tonight in the southwest sections of the state and ending by 6 am Thursday in the southeast.