Overview

An extremely cold arctic airmass made its effects felt across Central Alabama beginning on the night of January 5th with the passage of an arctic cold front.  Temperatures fell by almost 30 degrees in a span of 4-6 hours behind the cold front, changing the light rain to a wintry mix of precipitation for a short duration. There were many reports of sleet and light snow reported across the northern half of Central Alabama on the evening of Jan 5th. Howling northwesterly winds also accompanied the arctic airmass with sustained winds of 20-25 mph and gusts upwards to 40 mph at times.  Temperatures struggled to reach the upper teens across the northern counties to the upper 20s across the southern counties on the afternoon of January 6th, with wind chills below zero for counties along and north of Interstate 20. The bone-chilling cold arrived on the morning of January 7th, with low temperatures reported near zero across northern counties to the lower teens across the south.  Record minimum temperatures were broken across the board for every climate site in Central Alabama.

 

Surface Charts

Surface Chart Jan 6 at 00Z Surface Chart Jan 6 at 06Z Surface Chart Jan 6 at 12Z
Jan 6th at 00Z Jan 6th at 06Z Jan 06 at 12Z
Surface Chart on Jan7 at 00Z Sruface Chart on Jan 7 at 12Z Surface Chart on Jan 8 at 00Z
Jan 7th at 00Z Jan 7th at 12Z Jan 8th at 00Z
 

Daily Climate Records

New Record Minimum Temperatures
Date Location Temperature (°F)
Previous Record
Jan 6
Anniston
13
14 (1959, 2010)
Jan 7
Birmingham
7
11 (1970)
Jan 7
Montgomery
13
15 (1970)
Jan 7
Tuscaloosa
9
13 (1970)
Jan 7
Anniston
8
11 (1970)
 
New Record Low Maximum Temperatures
Date Location Temperature (°F)
Previous Record
Jan 6
Tuscaloosa
30
33 (1988)
 

Observations

Observed Max/Min Temperatures
  Jan 6th
Jan 7th
Location
Max/Min (°F)
Max/Min (°F)
Birmingham
30/11
24/7
Montgomery
41/18
30/13
Tuscaloosa
30/14
28/9
Anniston
35/13
25/8

*Note: The maximum temperatures on Jan 6th were actually observed between 12:00am and 12:30am early that morning.

 
Consecutive Hours < 32°F
Location
# of Hours
Time Period
Birmingham
59
11pm on 1/5 - 10am on 1/8
Montgomery
55
3am on 1/6 - 10am on 1/8
Tuscaloosa
59
11pm on 1/5 - 10am on 1/8
Anniston
57
1am on 1/6 - 10am on 1/8
 

Map of Lowest Temperatures

The coldest temperatures of the event were recorded on the morning of January 7th. The map below depicts the observed low temperatures for locations across Central Alabama.

 
Low temps for Jan 7th
 

 Fast Facts

  • First time Birmingham and Anniston observed a minimum temperature < 10°F since Jan 24, 2003.
  • First time Tuscaloosa observed a minimum temperature < 10°F since Dec 24, 1989*. (*Tuscaloosa's records are missing for several years in the 1990s, so it's possible that the actual date could be sooner.)
  • First time Birmingham observed a maximum temperature < 25°F since Feb 4, 1996.
  • First time Anniston observed a maximum temperature < 25°F since Jan 10, 2010.
 

Nationwide Temperature Map

nationwide temperature map

Image is courtesy of the PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University.

 

 


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