By Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist, Alabama Emergency Management Agency
CLANTON – Friday 7:15 am, March 11, 2022
A very strong storm system will affect Alabama this evening into Saturday. The following is a breakdown for each hazard:
Models have trended faster with colder air entering the state this evening, meaning a quicker transition to a rain/sleet, then all snow events with accumulations near and north of I-20. A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for north Alabama, beginning as early as 9 pm and lasting until 9 am Saturday.
South of the Winter Storm Warning area to just south of I-20, a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect also beginning as early as 9 pm and ending at 9 am Saturday.
Rain will transition to snow as early as 9 pm in the northwest sections of the state and spread eastward over areas near and north of I-20 between 12 am – 2 am. The bulk of the snowfall will be over by 9 am, although some flurries may linger until early Saturday afternoon.
Total snowfall from just south of I-20 to a Hamilton – Cullman – Fort Payne line will range from 0.25 – 1.5 inches. North of a Hamilton – Cullman – Fort Payne line, 2-4 inches are forecast. In both locations, locally higher amounts may occur.
Driving conditions will likely be hazardous in many locations as temperatures will drop to the lower 20s in the north and around 30 as far south as Hwy 80/I-85 by sunrise Saturday. There may be slick spots on bridges and overpasses south of I-20 due to the freezing of water.
In addition, high winds will produce dangerous wind chill readings in the single digits overnight and into Saturday morning. You don’t want to be outside in these conditions, especially if you are in an accident or stuck in traffic from someone else, so it is best to avoid all travel from tonight into Saturday.
High Temperatures on Saturday are forecast to only reach 28-33 degrees near and north of I-20 which will likely result in road impacts throughout the day and possibly into Sunday with low temperatures Sunday morning ranging from the mid-teens north to middle 20s at the coast.
A warmup will occur on Sunday with afternoon high temperatures in the 50s statewide.
A broken line of thunderstorms with the potential for a few supercells ahead of the line in south Alabama is forecast to move across areas south of I-20 between 7 pm and 4 am. The greatest risk area will be generally south of Hwy 80/ I-85. Straight-line winds, very heavy rainfall, and the potential for a couple of tornadoes are all possible.
Very strong northerly winds with gusts of 30-40 mph will begin in north Alabama after 8 pm tonight and reach the coastal areas between 1 am – 4am Saturday. These gusts will continue into Saturday afternoon. Tree limbs/trees may also be downed resulting in power outages.
The very active weather pattern continues into next week with the potential for severe weather across the southern half of the state Tuesday into Tuesday night. Although over a week away and confidence is not high right now, another system and potentially significant severe weather event could occur next Friday.