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A brief January thaw


While the yellow caution banners for the weekend probably catch your eye, you should also notice the nice January thaw before we get to that point! Yesterday, I thought I was being too conservative with those high temps for Wed and Thurs, but now I think clouds will hold us at those marks that I have forecast. However, if we can get any sun Thursday morning, before clouds and rain shrs move in that afternoon/evening, we could get into the mid 60s. That’s unlikely, but not impossible.

Enjoy it.

The winds will begin to increase on Thursday and I may have to add the wind icon to that day, but you’ll really notice the winds picking up on Friday, gusting to 25+ mph at times. These winds are going to help blow in another arctic front that will remind us that it’s still January. An area of low pressure will develop to our southwest near Mississippi and track northeastward along the front. As soon as the front passes, all rain will turn to snow. It could be a dramatic changeover that could catch you off guard where it not for you following my blog and Facebook posts (ha).

Remember how I’ve described arctic air as being like syrup, shallow and thick? This arctic airmass is no different. Sometimes these fronts move through while it’s raining and the temps here at the surface drop below freezing before the temps up above us do. This can cause a period of freezing rain that, as we all know, only takes a small dose to cause  great big problems. That’s something I’ll have to keep an eye on, as well. This would be something to watch Friday evening.

Now, when this changeover takes place is key to how much snowfall we get with this front. Typically, these types of event are light and produce one inch or less of snowfall. Like yesterday morning, it becomes more of a travel headache than anything else.  Right now, it looks like areas from Nashville west and north will see more snow than us, so if you have travel plans that take you west this weekend you’ll want to keep an eye on the forecast.

I think we’ll have some light snow with this system here on the plateau, and with the ground being so cold, it won’t take it long to start sticking. We have yet another disturbance that will be swinging in on Saturday and it should bring some more light snow. Predicting accumulations at this point would be a wild guess but I wouldn’t be surprised to see us get some light accumulation.

Right now the models are all struggling with where everything will line up, and it is a bit tricky, so say the least. We’ll have the arctic front that will be surging in, while a surface low pressure develops somewhere along that front. The timing of the frontal passage and the location of where the low develops on the front are key to knowing how much snow we will get. It’s a bit of a wild card, but it’s not impossible (per at least one model solution this morning) that the surface low will track along the front through north Alabama and into East TN. This would give us significant snowfall. I’ll keep an eye on it.

For now, I’d just advise you be ready for another arctic blast Friday evening, followed by a light mix and then snow Friday night and Saturday that could cause travel problems. Meanwhile, enjoy the warmer temps, even if they do come with clouds and showers.

Just pour ya a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and pretend we’re in Seattle.  🙂

I’ll be watching the models, and all the guidance today, for what we can expect Friday-Saturday. Stay tuned.


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