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Mon. PM update: Models continue to show a colder, drier solution for our weather heading into this weekend. But, some looks(ensemble members) continue to give us a big snow. This is one of them from the 18Z GFS. This is not a likely solution at this point at all, but still possible.

These types of systems can and do spring surprises right up until when they happen. As of now, expect a very cold weekend with highs in the Tenn. Valley not getting out of the 30’s Saturday, and lows by Sun. AM dropping to the low 20’s, with some upper teens possible in the colder spots of NE Ala and middle Tenn. Anything from a dusting of snow, to something much more significant is still on the table.


Of course, nothing like what is hitting the northeast, but major for us is several inches. Some models continue to be consistent in showing a classic setup for a snow for parts of Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolina’s between Friday the 15th and Sunday the 17th. Many of us that follow weather patterns have latched on to this for a solid week now, as the time frame to give us our best chance this season of a significant snowfall in places like the Tennessee Valley.

First, we will get some rain, maybe heavy at times, starting Sunday and ending Monday morning. Anywhere from an inch to three or more inches is possible, mainly south of the Tennessee River. Another wave will bring a little more rain in by later Tuesday and it could change to snow over Tennessee, and maybe even end with a mix over extreme north Alabama, but nothing significant for us expected from that one. It’s just the teaser for what’s to come.

The main period of interest for snow lovers comes Friday into the weekend, depending on which model you believe. The main thing, is both the GFS and European models have been consistent to bring a strong low across the gulf states with cold air rushing in to make most, if not all of the precipitation fall as snow in places like  the Tennessee Valley of north Alabama and middle Tennessee. A rain to snow setup  could also cause some accumulation in places like Birmingham and Atlanta, or even farther south. This is the 0z run Saturday of the GFS which shows that by midday Saturday the `16th, we could see 6 inches in north Alabama. The timing will vary, and the amounts and exact location as well, but snow lovers should be very hopeful for this one.
And this is the DGEX model, not one of the more reliable ones, but it also has a major snow for us, with huge amounts back in west Tennessee

This is the upper level GFS mean for early next weekend…a low to our southeast..cold air rushing in…perfect setup for us


Temperatures could fall very cold if we get this snow, so that temps even by Monday morning, the 18th could be in the low teens..and zero not far way. This would keep travel problems potentially into the first of the work week, IF a good snowfall occurre.


I hope to update this in coming days, but for now, the setup is in place for us in the Tennessee Valley to have a real snowstorm next weekend. To get frequent updates on weather affecting Alabama and surrounding areas, like this page on facebook:

And if you hear snow forecasted…DO NOT act like this man!


Happy New Year to all. Our weather in the deep south recently has been cool and damp, and just plain depressing. Things are going to be very uneventful for the next week or so, but then once mid January gets here, the bottom may fall out. Let’s just use the old 8 ball to see if we will have wintry weather in January.

Can’t say that for sure. But what is to come is that we will have a warm up, mainly next week. By the time we get into Jan 10-11, we will have a ridge throwing warm air into the southeast and east(GFS model): (courtesy of for description and Alan Huffman for graphics)
And going into next weekend, per the Euro model, it will be way above normal, but don’t let that fool you.
BUT…there is a major warming going on with the stratosphere…and when that happens, it filters down to our surface weather(trophosphere) and in another couple of weeks, we should feel it. Jason Simpson, Chief Meteorologist at WHNT in Huntsville has a great blog about this

Here is another great description about what is coming:

and another

At some point, likely by around mid month, the bottom falls out and arctic air rushes into the deep south.

winter e

This shows a long range GFS model of noon time temps on Jan. 19. It has temps in the low 20’s at Huntsville…brrrr (courtesy of Accuweather)
Will be back in coming days with an update, but expect big time changes in mid January. I expect Mid January to Mid February to present several opportunities for winter weather in the deep south. No way to know when or what, but it is looking good for snow lovers.

Note: There is a slight chance of some sleet or snow early Friday, especially in the Shoals. This will turn into a chilly rain during the day.

Well, so far this winter season has not panned out too well for winter weather lovers in the Tennessee Valley. Even though Winter officially just began, really the months of December, January, and February are what should be considered winter, those months are called Meteorological Winter, and are more accurate than late December to late March for winter weather chances. Things may or may not improve in coming weeks, but keep hope alive. The official forecast from the National Weather Service group that predicts upcoming climate says January will be much wetter than normal here. The pattern looks to continue to be wet. But cold rain is not what we want. The blue is the heaviest precipitation compared to average.

In addition, they also show colder than normal across almost all of the U.S. for January. This, combined with the moist pattern COULD work out into a big snow event in the Tennessee Valley…or not. The blue is colder than normal.
We need the timing to work out, otherwise we’ll just have cold rain or some snow flurries at the end of rain events.
Some people, especially our northern friends, wonder why snow is such a big deal down here. This is the best way I can explain it:

Snow in the South is wonderful. It has a kind of magic and mystery that it has nowhere else. And the reason for this is that it comes to people in the South not as the grim, unyielding tenant of Winter’s keep, but as a strange and wild visitor from the secret North


Most weather operational models don’t show a good chance at a winter weather event soon for us, but some ensemble members do continue to hint at it, as soon as soon after the new year. Those ensemble members are like if you asked a classroom of students for different solutions to the same problem. In other words, we are not far off from something good, but it can’t be predicted as of yet. Stay tuned, I hope to have more about this in the next few days. As for your New Years weather, prepare for a cold rain New Years Eve if you are out and also on New Years day. Hopefully, some winter weather mischief won’t be far behind. Until next time, “keep snow hope alive”.


Now, no one can say for sure about something like this, but trends seem to show that we will be back to some wintery weather, more like two years ago, than the mild, dull winter of last year. While I will talk about weather patterns that affect much of the country, it will focus on the deep south, and especially the Tennessee Valley region of north Alabama and middle Tennessee.

The Old Farmers Almanac continues to do a better job than most prognosticators on this, and this is their outlook, followed by a look at how much colder it should be compared to normal for us:

If things work out for us deep south snow lovers, this could be the result. Stay tuned. If you want to be automatically updated when I make a new post here, you can subscribe. I will also post on facebook when I do a new blog update. Until next time: this is what we want:

So the Milk and Bread Report was a bust…because this winter was a bust.  Ugh.

This Saturday night, turn your clocks FORWARD one hour. So you lose an hours sleep this weekend, but the days will stay light much later. As for spring. it officially begins at 12:14AM Central time on March 20.  We have had a very mild winter…if you want to know why we didn’t have more snow, or at least snow chances…this winter was one of the top 10 warmest on record for Huntsville. Last winter was one of the top 12 coldest.  The difference is an average of 9 degrees per day. That is huge. That is the difference from a big snow at 30 degrees, and a nasty, cold rain at 39, all other things being equal.

As for the tornadoes last Friday, there was a remarkable similarity in the path of the East Limestone and Madison County Tornado with the powerful, historic one that hit last April 27. Here is an overlay showing both, the tornado from last Friday, which was an EF-3 with winds up to 140 mpg and went for 34.4 miles, and lasted from 9:10 to 10:00, took almost the same path as the tornado that reached the maximum EF-5 tornado last April. Click on it for more detail. Some of the same streets and areas were hit directly again. Friday’s tornado is indicated by the red line.Click on the image to see a much better view.

This is likely to be a stormy pattern over the spring, as the following map shows: Go get one of the weather call services and be sure your weather radio has good batteries, as well as being plugged in. Two ways to get the alerts you need, in addition to the weather radios, are and

Finally, there could be some heavy rain a couple of times over the next few days..Thursday night into early Friay and again late Monday into early Tuesday. Some of us could get several inches, so it could cause flooding problems. Stay safe and I’ll talk to you soon.

It has been a boring winter for snow lovers in north Alabama and the Tennessee Valley. In fact, for most of the country. Even the ski resorts in the east, and west, have had a horrible season so far. However, Alaska, western Canada, and now into the far northwest are seeing some record snows. Here is a look at the snow in Olympia, Washington.

There are signs that things may change for us sometime around early February, which is now less than two weeks away. Noted meteorologist James Spann in Birmingham commented on Wednesday that:

the North Atlantic Oscillation, which has been positive all season, might make a run at negative territory as February begins. This could open the door for longer and more significant cold snaps. And, considering the brutal cold that has been over Alaska and western Canada for the season, we will need to watch this.

Another meteorologist from North Carolina that closely monitors winter weather in the south says this:

I’m not sure the models are right at the early part of February, but if they are, it will “probably” be a pattern that changes for at least 4 to 6 weeks and would be hardcore Winter in our region. That type of switch would fit many of the Winters that had a big switch to them, whether its strat. warming related or whatever. Its’ just the timing would be a little unusual. We’re used to early Winters with an abrupt end, or practically no Winter (like mid 2000’s), but those Winters’ didn’t behave like this one is at the Poles. Seems like blocking or ridging wants to stay there, so when there is a switch, combined with a super-active pacific jet, it wouldn’t suprise me at all to see a Greenland block form and combo +PNA, where we’ve had -PNA so long. If that happens, we’d see one of the biggest turn arounds in weather in a long time. It probably will happen, the unknown is really when

So in short, we that want snow and some winter weather before it’s too late do see signs for a possible big February, as there is a lot of cold that wants to come down, and it could mix with a busy southern jet stream to cause a lot of havoc.

Let’s look at the snowpack on Jan. 10, 2011 after the big snow, and then this year, Jan. 10, 2011

I’m going out on the limb, and saying that there will be a much colder and snowier February than December and January. However, I do fear a stormy spring coming up. More next time. Thanks for reading.

The latest run of the GFS has temperatures getting down to the single digits at Huntsville on Feb. 4. So we may have a winter yet!


Happy New Year. Haven’t written a new blog post since Dec. 15 due to the holidays, and frankly, due to not much interesting weather for us, that is if you like snow or winter storms. In fact, there is not much snow in the entire continental U.S. as 2011 ended as the graphs below show:

After four good seasons of snow, this season is way down so far

As you can see, after four above normal winters for snow, this season is down by some 77% from normal nationwide, and 97% below normal in the southeast, both the worst in over 20 years.

One thing is changing, at least briefly, and that is some arctic cold. The first step was the front coming through Sunday, but things really change with very windy conditions Monday into Monday night as the really cold air rushes into the deep south. Temperatures into the Tennessee Valley will dip into the teens in places Monday and Tuesday night, and into the low 20’s in the rest. Highs on Tuesday will be at freezing or below for many places in the southeast, including right around freezing(or maybe just barely above freezing) at Huntsville, as indicated on the graph below:

Also, there is a chance of some light snow for eastern Tennessee, extreme northeast Alabama, and north Georgia from this latest push of cold air, especially in higher elevations in those areas:

chance of light snow mainly monday night

We will moderate back to normal and above the second half of the week, but looking ahead, and without going into detail right now, things look more hopeful for winter weather lovers as we head into the Jan. 8-16 period, and possibly beyond. The two main medium range weather models used for weather up to two plus weeks out are the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-range weather Forecasts, commonly known as the Euro), and the GFS (Global Forecasting System, operated by a branch of the U.S. Government), and while they are showing different things, both have hinted at setups that could produce snow and/or ice for parts of the deep south during that time. I will post more soon, hopefully, as things get clearer. In the meantime, let’s remember a photo taken in Huntsville the evening of last Jan. 10, and fits in perfectly with the Milk and Bread Report. That night we had 8.9 inches of snow officially at Huntsville, including an amazing 4 inches in one hour, and I recorded over 10 inches that night. Until next time, think snow!

The Milk and Bread Report theme picture

The good news is we’ve made it through the main secondary severe storm season for us, and came through unscathed. Can’t say for sure severe chance are over, but the odds are lower now.For those of us wanting snow, even though we had a couple of chances, most of us missed out except for the higher elevations. Now with astronomical winter almost here, things might be ready to change. Winter officially begins at 11:30 PM central time on Dec. 21, or about exactly one week from when I am writing this. Both Dec. 21 and 22 will be virtually tied for the shortest days of sunshine of the year.

As you can tell from this picture of a ski resort in North Carolina, things aren’t happening for snow yet. They will miss the holiday business from lack of snow and it being too mild to build up enough snow.

Ski slope in North Carolina mid December

While we will have some rain on Thursday into Friday this week, the week leading up to Christmas will start being an active pattern in the southeast.

active pattern leading up to Christmas

The big issue is getting cold air to sink south and stay in place for us to have a real winter storm chance. While some models have hinted at us getting a little, and I mean little snow by Christmas morning in the Tennessee Valley, I think some wraparound flurries might be about all we can hope for at the moment. There is still time for things to change, and I will put out an update well before Christmas. For the moment, Christmas Eve looks very wet, with colder and dryer air coming in Christmas(maybe some flurries early). At least it doesn’t appear it will be near 70 as it was on Wednesday…not very Christmassy feeling. This is 36 hour rain from the 0z Dec.15 GFS run, indicating a very wet Christmas Eve as of now.(a more southerly track and colder air could make things more interesting however)

36 hour rainfall ending at 6am Christmas morning


One key element that would help us have improving winter weather chances would be a negative north Atlantic Oscillation, or NAO.  When this occurs, the eastern U.S. tends to have more cold air outbreaks and hence snowy weather conditions. There are many other factors involved, but this is a key one to watch for us. The chart below from the Dec.14 12Z GFS run shows that this feature may go negative right around Christmas and stay through at least New Years. A pattern of this as we end the year, and head into January could help us get some cold and maybe snow. The blue shows it going negative.

NAO goes negative the last week of the year

In short, changes are going to occur to our weather pattern that would give us more hope for some wintery weather in the Tennessee Valley. Exactly when and how this change occurs is not known yet, but the last week of this month is very possible. Another blog post to update this and look into early January will come next week.





Yes. After some heavy rain Sunday, and some cold, nasty, weather for days to come, we could see rain become mixed with and even change to all snow by later Monday night and Tuesday morning. It could even accumulate, despite the warm, wet ground. As temperatures fall, an upper level low, with it’s own very cold air and dynamics aloft, will move across north Alabama. Weather models continue to show some very heavy snow in areas where it sets up just right, for a few hours.  This is where the bulleye sits at this time, though it will likely vary some.

a possible area of the heaviest snowfall

These are the midnight runs of the major American weather models, and you can see a big difference, but it ranges from near two inches at Huntsville to over 6 inches near Russellville on the NAM model, and 1-2 inches near the state line to 3 or 4 in other areas on the GFS.

NAM snowffall at top, GFS at bottom

Note that the ground is warm, and this would mostly be on grassy areas, but it could come down so hard, so fast to cause some temporary travel issues late Monday night into Tuesday morning. And this comes AFTER perhaps 2 or 3 inches of rain.
As for down the road, November ends and December begins far colder than normal for us. Things should stay colder than normal well into December, but moderate slightly. Down the road a little more, the snowpack is filling in so that if we do get a cross polar flow, we could get a really good arctic outbreak. There is no way to know when yet, but it could happen by Christmas. Here is the snowpack looking from Asia towards Canada and the U.S.

Everyone get ready for a lot of rain, unseasonably cold air, and the chance for snow in the next few days. Until next time, Roll Tide(sorry, had to!)

We lucked out and avoided any severe weather here in the Tennessee Valley from the system that came through Tuesday and Tuesday night. The longer we go towards winter, the threat for severe weather will do down, but it will still need to be watched for a few weeks. This weekend another, much stronger system will bring rain, maybe heavy, and some storms, then much colder weather. Get out your winter wear, because it will be a shock to the system for a few days. And yes, the chance of some snow flurries, snow showers or even more is possible in the Tennessee Valley.

Quiet and seasonable weather will be in place for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and Saturday looks pretty good during the day, but Saturday night into Sunday is when rain, and storms will affect us. For the Iron Bowl: kickoff temp 68 degrees, with 65 at the end, only about a 10%-20% chance of rain during the game(as of now), but it will start going up some in the 4th quarter, but should be ok, and there could be some rain or even storms to deal with on the long ride home for some. Most of it should wait until after midnight though. Winds will be southeast around 8 mph for the game(maybe just enough to help a Bama kick go through from long distance, lol).

Following the front, we will have a much colder period next week. This is the 6-10 day temperature outlook which shows that the coldest air(compared to normal) in the country could be over us.

6-10 day temperatures compared to normal

An upper level low pressure that carries very cold air aloft will stall near us bringing the chance of cold light rain or even snow for perhaps Sunday night through Tuesday or even Wednesday morning. If this is true, we will have far below normal temps, particularly in the daytime, and a lot of clouds, and some precipitation at times. Upper level lows carry a lot of their own cold air, so even if our temperature is 35 or even 40 at the surface, we could see snow. Temperatures at noon Monday may only be in the upper 30’s!

These are some precip types from the GFS model at the given times:

These types of systems are very tricky, and the saying goes “cold core low, weatherman’s woe”. Some of these have dumped heavy snow so fast it has accumulated several inches even though the ground was well above freezing.

Blue is possible snow at midnight Sunday

Precip types at midnight Monday night

By the way, word is Dan may not be around here much longer, so you may not get to see this again

We'll miss you Dan

Stay tuned, and I’ll keep you up to date on any changes, and have a great Thanksgiving.