The weather across the Tennessee Valley will be a bit of a roller coaster ride for the next week as a major pattern change takes shape across the United States. We have one more mild/warm day ahead of us on Wednesday before a big cold front approaches. Morning lows start out in the upper 30s with southerly winds bringing in moisture and added cloud cover through the day. Wednesday will be a breezy day with those southerly winds gusting as high as 25-30+ mph. Afternoon highs will warm into the upper 50s and lower 60s.
Showers move into the Tennessee Valley during the evening, and during the overnight the big cold front moves in and brings a band of heavy rain and embedded thunder with it across the area. Gusty winds are possible with this feature as well, and there is actually a Level 1 of 5 severe risk technically in place up to Franklin, Colbert, and Lawrence Counties of Alabama... but we think any wind gusts with the storms should stay below severe limits, and any appreciable risk of severe weather should stay in south Alabama. Then, after midnight, the cold front moves through and northwesterly winds rush colder air into the area. This may allow the rain to end as light snow or snow flurries around daybreak or just before on Thursday, Christmas Eve morning. We are not expecting any major accumulations or impacts, but one or two lucky folks may see a light dusting or so. For most of us, we're talking about flakes mixing in with the rain with no real accumulation to speak of. Our daytime highs for Thursday will actually be met in the morning hours, with temperatures dropping through the day from there.
The big weather story this week, after the heavy rain Wednesday night, will be the major cold that moves into the area later this week. Once we drop below freezing Thursday morning, it is very likely that most of us in the viewing area won't get above freezing again until the late morning hours of Saturday! The exception to this may be our north Alabama counties that are south of the Tennessee River. You guys might get to 33-35 degrees briefly on Christmas afternoon. Most of us will struggle to get to 30-31 degrees on Christmas Day for an afternoon high, and morning lows on Christmas Day look to start out in the 16 to 20 degree range. We look to drop back into the upper teens and low 20s Christmas night. This prolonged period of below-freezing cold makes pipes a lot more likely to burst. This would be one of those times where you need to leave faucets dripping and leave cabinet doors open under the sinks so that warm air can circulate, even if your pipes are wrapped. Don't forget to make sure pets are protected from this type of cold, and please make sure to check on any elderly or not-well family members or friends that you may have!
The good news is that temperatures "warm" into the upper 40s and lower 50s by Saturday afternoon before our next RAIN-maker moves in Sunday into early on Monday.