Sun and "warmer" temps return, but short-lived. More wintry weather ahead Thursday.
Y'all check this out! This is the latest visible satellite imagery as of the midday hour. Clouds have cleared out across most of the Tennessee Valley, but notice the white shaded areas across the Shoals into Wayne County and then across much of north to northeast Alabama and up into eastern areas of middle Tennessee. That is SNOW still on the ground and being seen from the satellite!
That return to sunshine will definitely help with remaining most or all of the remaining snow, and it will help with the temperatures as well. We won't say we are "warming up", but we are moderating back into the upper 30s and lower 40s this afternoon. We stand to rise at least a couple more degrees from where we are here at midday.
I had initially been skeptical of getting into the lower to mid 40s this afternoon after watching how slow the temperatures were to respond this morning after a little sun; however, they have rebounded nicely over the last couple of hours. We look to get into the upper 30s and lower 40s areawide today, and a few of us still might make a run at the mid 40s. A southerly wind starts up toward evening, gusting as high as 15 to 20 mph at times, and this will slow the cooling process a little. However, we still likely cool into the low to mid 30s overnight before clouds move in toward daybreak. That cloud cover hangs around for Wednesday, looking to keep highs in the mid to upper 40s.
Skies look like they may temporarily clear going into Wednesday evening and overnight. This, and winds shifting back around to the east and northeast will allow temperatures to drop pretty quickly into the lower 30s and eventually the upper 20s. The latest run of our high-resolution Futurecast model suggests that wintry precipitation starts in our western and northwestern areas around daybreak on Thursday and then spreads through the region going through the morning, midday, and early afternoon. Everything looks to wrap up late in the day, with some partial clearing and rapidly dropping temperatures going into Thursday evening.
We are not ready to talk exact accumulation expectations (numbers), but we are very confident that there will be accumulating snow and the potential for travel problems across parts or most of the area on Thursday. Temperatures will be colder this time before the precipitation even starts, and the ground and infrastructure will be much more chilled than it was leading into our Sunday snow. It will be easier for this to accumulate faster. Our main questions like in where exactly the snow/mix/rain lines set up, and if there may be some potential for light freezing rain accumulations to the south of the main snow area. As of now, the most likely location for accumulating snow seems to be in our Tennessee counties, but it will be possible as far south as Russellville, Moulton, and Hartselle in north Alabama. South of wherever the accumulating snow sets up, there may be light freezing rain (ice) accumulations that could cause travel problems. Once you get south of Russellville to Moulton to Hartselle, accumulating wintry precipitation is a lot more unlikely, but we can't rule out some wintry mix briefly at the end on Thursday as colder air moves in at the end of the precipitation.
Regardless of how the precipitation falls areawide on Thursday, temperatures plummet into the teens overnight; so, whatever is on the roads... whatever it is... will freeze and cause travel problems Thursday night into Friday morning, even in the areas that stay all rain. If there is a snow pack on the ground, we may have to drop these Friday morning lows and Friday afternoon highs even further. The good news is that high pressure shifts east going into the weekend. That means moderating temperatures back well above freezing by Saturday afternoon and Sunday, meaning that the next system coming in on Sunday will be all rain. Cooler air again looks to follow that system going into early next week.