What a difference a day makes! After most of us getting into the upper 50s on Thursday, and some of us as warm as the lower 60s, we are back into the chilly air today thanks to the cold front that moved through overnight. Temperatures aren't too bad this morning, near seasonal averages for morning lows, but we are only getting into the low to mid-40s by afternoon. Winds out of the west are going to be gusty today too, as high as 25 to 30 mph in response to the pressure gradient from the weather system moving through.
We also can't rule out a stray shower or two moving across the area during the morning and midday hours, but most of us look to stay dry until later in the day. As we head into late afternoon, another disturbance rotating around the base of the upper-level trough over our area will approach and kick off a few showers. These will be scattered in nature; so, not everyone will see them. However, as temperatures drop into the 30s near and after sunset, for those that do see these showers, it seems likely that they will transition over to a few snow flurries and light snow showers. Let us say upfront right now. This is not like the snow on Monday or last Thursday. Both of those were Gulf low setups where moisture from the Gulf of Mexico was being thrown northward into colder air over us. That is a setup that is favorable for accumulating snow, and that's why we had enough confidence to talk about the Monday storm a full week in advance. This will be like spotty summer showers, random and scattered in nature where not everyone even sees them. It will just be light snow falling because of the colder temperatures. For those of you that do see them, the ground can turn white under these things for a short time. Think back to those flurries and snow showers we had just after Thanksgiving and the ones we had a couple of days before Christmas. Many of us saw the ground turn white and we got a nice dusting. Some of us in VERY ISOLATED areas even saw as much as a quarter to half-inch under the heaviest bands. That wouldn't be impossible tonight into tomorrow morning as these flurries and snow showers move through. But just like those two days we mentioned, we don't see any reason to expect impactful accumulation or travel impacts. This is not the kind of weather system that gives us significant accumulating snow. This is in a completely different universe from the storm system we saw back on Monday.
Aside from the snow showers into Saturday morning, it's going to be just downright cold again too. Afternoon highs look to stay in the upper 30s to maybe 40 degrees. Winds will be gusty again on Saturday, out of the northwest at 15 to 20 mph. It's just going to be a raw feeling day on Saturday, a great day to stay indoors with the heat and a crockpot of vegetable soup and some cornbread! Beyond Saturday, we do start a gradual but steady moderating trend back to milder weather. We are in the 40s again to start the work week and in the 50s by Tuesday and Wednesday, and we may be in the 60s for the second half of the week. Talk about a turnaround!
This time of year though, warmer air in the Tennessee Valley means one of two things... either it's not going to last long, or it comes at a price. For next week, we think it's Option #2. Our cold front that has moved through the area actually comes back north as a warm front next week as we get into a pattern with southwest flow aloft with a big ridge over South Florida and the Bahamas and we start to get surface winds out of the south from the Gulf of Mexico. That also means increasing moisture, and with that, increasing rain chances. Toward the latter portion of the week, as the air starts to grow more unstable, we will probably see thunderstorms involved as well. It is way too soon to try to guess if a threat of strong to severe storms may be involved, but it is something we will be watching carefully. Models yesterday had been trending toward ejecting all the energy out of the Southwest in one organized piece, and that would tend to favor a stronger system with a possible severe weather threat. Models overnight and this morning have trended away from that, but we are a full week away, and there is plenty of time for things to trend in either direction, and either scenario is a believable one. No need to be anxious or worry. Just keep checking back for forecast updates as we start to head into next week!