Weather by Tim Kelley
Tim Kelley is back for winter 2022+23 with his thorough, entertaining, and exciting weather reports. Watch this space for news about incoming weather and snow.
Updated january 24th, 2023
First things first - The Sun is never coming out again.
By means of Mother Nature always wanting to show who is boss, when the weatherman says that something is NOT going to happen, Mother Nature responds by making it happen, she is the boss!
How is Wednesday from 7a - 8a and maybe Friday 3p - 4p for hints of blue sky and a glimpse of sunshine? Those are a couple possible tiny windows in an otherwise cold and flaky weather pattern through the weekend.
Monday did not deliver as hoped; we had to give areas to the south a chance to do a little catch up, but then when it stopped snowing at most other places, it of course ramped up here with a dose of heavy snow today (Tuesday). That was an arctic front coming in, a classic Jay Cloud snow situation. With the way the wind was blowing, it settled to about 6-8” from sunrise to sunset.
That arctic front is now stalled right over us and is a magnet for a powerhouse of a low pressure system coming at us from The Gulf of Mexico. The dynamics here are rather extraordinary, more complex than I have time to delve into here. Suffice to say a warm front producing severe weather in Alabama is racing north to merge with the arctic front stalled over us. These two opposite extremes, Polar vs. Tropical - are on a collision course to slam into one another right here!
No man or machine has a good grip on the exact details of how this plays out, but we can look at history for some guidance. When warm & humid air runs into dense arctic air, it snows, and it snows hard.
That means we get a wall of snow coming in at first, likely around 3PM Wednesday.
It snows very hard until the point when the warm and cold are mixed all together. That mixing together means wind.
We are going from a cold calm Wednesday sunrise to near blizzard conditions about 12 hours later. Wind is from the east/southeast, transporting moisture rich air from the Atlantic Ocean. We pretty much rage snow and wind until the cold and warm air masses are thoroughly mixed by Thursday morning. We should easily have about 8 inches of increasingly dense snow (again) on the front side of this system by then.
Next up, history says, we get a little lull in the wind, and a heavy dose of icy fog and snizzle. That's the center of low pressure, almost like an eye, going right over us Thursday morning. Next up we get colder air returning in the form of wind from the west and northwest, becoming rather annoying Thursday afternoon and night. But history also says, The Jay Cloud will kick in with the return of heavy snow and powdery refills in the afternoon, that may assuage that windy annoyance.
Then, if the past is any indication, we should see snowfall rates back to one inch per hour from later Thursday into early Friday as cold air tries to take over again. History says we usually get about 10 inches of snow in a situation like that.
So it looks like we could be talking 15-20 inches of snow by Friday afternoon, when we MAY get a little bit of sunshine.
And though Friday is pretty cold and windy, the real cold is not coming in until another arctic air mass has a chance to rebuild and come through over the weekend. That means more snow this weekend.
It's a tough call on timing, but it looks like snow is back in the air, if it leaves at all, by Saturday midday. We are going to be a bit less cold, and hopefully less windy Saturday.
Saturday night and Sunday it could keep on snowing as a wave of low pressure develops on the front with that next dose of incoming arctic air. The timing is tough, but at some point Sunday or Monday we may see the coldest air of the winter so far with several more inches of snow by later Sunday.
To sum up, we are in for it.
It may get a little damp here Thursday morning, but it's all good headed into the weekend.
Between now and next Tuesday - we should have a net gain of more than 20" of snow.
I'll be back Friday to score my 3--Day forecast, and fine tune our weekend outlook. Until then - buckle up and enjoy the ride.