James Spann: Rain returns Thursday, with a wintry mix for far north Alabama

SUNNY, COOL DAY: Temperatures are in the 50s across most of Alabama this afternoon with a sunny sky; tonight will be mostly fair with a low between 30 and 38 degrees for most communities.

Dry weather continues Wednesday, but clouds will increase during the afternoon; the high will be in the mid 50s.

THURSDAY: For most of the state, Thursday will be cloudy and colder with periods of mostly light rain. The high will be between 40 and 45 degrees. However, a wintry mix is possible for the Tennessee Valley of extreme north Alabama Thursday morning at the onset of the precipitation. Then, after a change to rain, another change back to sleet or snow is possible Thursday afternoon or evening as colder air moves in from the north.

For now it looks like accumulation of sleet and snow in far north Alabama will be light, but a few icy spots on roads, especially bridges, can’t be ruled out early Thursday morning and then again Thursday night as temperatures fall below freezing. The best chance of accumulation with this system will be in Tennessee.

FRIDAY: The coldest air so far this season will roll into Alabama Thursday night with a brisk north wind. We project a low between 18 and 24 degrees by daybreak Friday, with wind chill indices of 10-15 degrees for most places. During the day, the sky becomes sunny with a high between 35 and 40 degrees.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The weather stays dry Saturday. After we start the day in the 20s, the high Saturday afternoon will be in the mid 50s. Clouds will increase late in the day, and rain returns to the state Sunday ahead of another cold front. Rain amounts of one-half inch to 1 inch look likely, and the high Sunday will be in the upper 50s. Some thunder is possible, but severe storms are not expected.

NEXT WEEK: Look for a clearing sky Monday with a high in the 40s; the midweek period looks dry. The high will be in the 40s Tuesday, followed by 50s Wednesday through Friday. Some rain could return late in the week.

BAMA SNOW: The heaviest snow total Sunday night was at Moores Mill in Madison County (near Huntsville), where the total was 7 inches. Other totals across the Tennessee Valley included:

  • Harvest — 6.3 inches
  • Meridianville — 6
  • Mentone — 6
  • Owens Crossroads — 5.3
  • Athens — 4.5
  • Grant — 4
  • Trinity — 3.5
  • Vinemont — 3.5
  • Ardmore — 3

ON THIS DATE IN 1917: A tornado with estimated F3 damage cut a 15-mile path and struck a school at Vireton in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, killing 16 people. It ranks as the fourth-worst school tornado disaster in U.S. history.

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