The calm before the rainstorm

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Main Threats

This morning: dense fog

Saturday: heavy rainfall that could cause some flooding. Some storms could be strong.

Sunday morning: light snow/ice that could impact travel

Sunday night/Monday morning: bitter cold air. Check on people, pets, and pipes.

Summary

Look for mostly cloudy skies again today. At least the winds will be light and temperatures mild. If we can’t have the sun we should at least get that, right?

Today is the calm before the big storm system. Winds will pick up tonight and they should be howling throughout the day Saturday. The good news is that those winds will be from the south, which means they will be warm. The bad news is that those winds are also blowing in moisture from the Gulf. Rainfall totals should average around two inches for the plateau, with some isolated locations picking up a bit more than that. Flooding could be an issue in flood-prone areas.

We could even have some thunderstorms, some of which could be on the strong side. The Storm Prediction Center has outlined an area of slight risk for nearly all of Alabama. The greatest risk for severe storms will stay south of us, but we’re still in the zone for strong storms.

By Saturday night, the well-advertised (and, at times, sensationalized) arctic front arrives. This front will send temperatures tumbling. There could be just enough moisture left over to coat our plateau with a dusting to one inch of snow by Sunday morning. As temperatures fall to around 20 by Sunday morning, any water from Saturday’s rains that is flowing over the roads will freeze and cause slick spots. Just be very careful if you have to be out Sunday morning.

On Sunday the winds will continue to blow, but now they will be from the north. That means that wind will have a bite to it! There should also be some flurries left flying around, but no additional accumulation is expected. The skies finally clear out Sunday night and, believe it or not, we may see quite a bit of sun on Monday.

Then, like clockwork, our next system rolls in for Tuesday. Temperatures rebound quickly from our shot of arctic air and they rebound quickly enough to give us rain on Tuesday and Tuesday night. I wouldn’t be too surprised if some of that rain moves in quick enough to give us a brief wintry mix Tuesday morning sometime, but the uncertainty with that is too great to heavily advertise at this point. The majority of that precip on Tuesday should be in the form of plain rain, possibly ending as snow on Wednesday. Just stay tuned for more on that as we get much closer to that time.

Records

We were entrenched in a major arctic outbreak of cold air on this day in 1994. The high temperature in Nashville only reached 10 degrees. We barely got above zero here on the plateau, after a bitter cold morning low of eight below zero.

A warming trend in 1973 led to sever storms in Louisiana. A baby was carried by one tornado for 400 yards, before being set safely on the ground. The baby only had some minor scrapes. That tornado was, at times, rated an F-3 and was the strongest tornado of that month across the nation. That’s one baby that knew they had a purpose!

Almanac

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Record high: 66 (1990)

Record low: -9 (1982)

Today’s sunset: 4:53

Tomorrow’s sunrise: 6:48

Today’s Day Length: 10 hrs 04 mins 36 secs

Tomorrow’s Day Length: 10 hrs 06 mins 02 secs

One Year Ago Today

The high temperature only reached 34 degrees, after a very bitter cold morning low of three below zero. Winds were light, skies were fair, and no precipitation fell from the sky. It was just a cold January day.

Astronomy

Sky viewing conditions tonight: POOR

Moon phase: waxing gibbous (#4 below).

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Incidentally, have you ever wondered what the term “waxing gibbous” means? Waxing means getting bigger and gibbous refers to the shape of the moon. Gibbous means “having the illuminated part greater than a semicircle, but less than a full circle.”

For the rest of the month, you can go out and identify the stars that make up the Winter Circle. Just look east after nightfall and find the moon. It can be your guide in finding each of the stars. That is, if the the sky is clear enough to actually see the moon.

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The total lunar eclipse is Sunday night and skies should be clear! I’ll have more on that in tomorrow and Sunday’s blogs!

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News

The winter storm to impact the Midwest and Northeast this weekend will be quite the storm! Some locations could get as much as three feet of snow! The map below shows all the winter weather advisories, etc for this next storm system. That light blue shading across North Dakota and Minnesota is a wind chill advisory for wind chills of 35 below zero! Yikes! Pink coloring is winter storm warnings for significant snowfall.

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You all have a great day!

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