Freezing Rain, the Predominant Precipitation Expected Across Winter Weather Advisory Area

By Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist, Alabama Emergency Management Agency

CLANTON – Thursday 8 am, January 6, 2022

At 7 am, temperatures near and north of the Tennessee River were in the mid 30s and will be dropping during the day.  The Winter Weather Advisory is in effect north of a Winfield…Cullman Fort Payne line.  The highest impacts for this event will be near and north of the Tennessee River.

Temperatures northwest of a Hamilton – Huntsville line will drop below freezing between 8 am and 12 pm, and north of a Cullman – Fort Payne line between 2-4 pm.  

This will primarily be a freezing rain event where temperatures fall to the freezing mark before the precipitation ends.  There could be a brief changeover to sleet and/or snow in the far northern sections of the state before ending.  Precipitation will end in the Advisory area west of I65 between 12 pm and 2 pm and east of I65 between 2 pm and 5 pm.

Between a trace and 0.10 inch of ice is forecast in the Advisory area with between a trace to 1 inch of sleet/snow generally north of a Muscle Shoals – Huntsville – Fort Payne line.

Drier air and 10-15 mph winds with gusts around 20 mph will help dry roadways overnight, but there will likely be slick spots on bridges, overpasses, and roadways where standing water freezes.

Overnight low temperatures will be in the middle teens in north Alabama, with dangerous wind chill values in the single digits.  Although there may be a 2-4 period of temperatures reaching 33-37 degrees Friday afternoon north of a Hamilton – Cullman – Fort Payne line, many areas in the region may stay below freezing from later this afternoon until 10 am Saturday.

Where freezing rain occurs today, dangerous road conditions will occur and you should avoid driving, which could last well into Friday.  If you must drive in these areas, drive very slowly, especially on bridges and allow plenty of room between yourself and other vehicles.

Bring extra clothes and blankets to keep warm in case you get stuck.