Wintry Precipitation January 16, 2008
Weather prediction models had been hinting at some wintry precipitation across Central Alabama for several days, but lacked the run to run consistency and consensus between models to give forecasters any confidence at all. Like most winter weather events across Central Alabama, this one was right on the border line between all rain and all snow.
Temperatures early Wednesday morning ranged from the upper 20s to mid 30s across north central Alabama. Clouds moved into the area rapidly from the west overnight which put a damper to any warming expected during daylight hours. Temperatures by late morning were only in the upper 30s and lower 40s.
The lower levels of the atmosphere were quite dry Wednesday morning with surface dew points in the teens and 20s. Precipitation began falling into this dry layer by mid morning, which cooled the atmosphere even more. Surface temperatures fell into mid 30s by around noon in many locations. The precipitation started off as sleet and snow in many locations during the afternoon hours. Preliminary data suggest that a majority of the precipitation was in the form of rain along and south of Interstate 20, except for the areas along and east of Mount Cheaha. Several locations reported around one inch accumulations of snow and sleet, mainly on grassy and elevated surfaces. These locations included northern and western Clay County, northern Randolph County, parts of Cleburne County, parts of Calhoun County, parts of Cherokee County, and a few spots in Blount County. Areas from near Hamilton, to Haleyville, to Double Springs, to Oneonta, to Gadsden received up to a half in of accumulation. The preliminary areal map is below.
Due to the surfaces temperatures just above freezing and the soil temperatures above freezing, widespread road problems were not experienced during this event.