Frigid temps predicted Monday night in North Alabama
By Jean Cole
Winter temperatures won't miss North Alabama this time around.
An official with The National Weather Service in Huntsville says rain is likely and snow is possible, but cold is a certainty beginning Monday night.
Jennifer Saari, meteorologist with the NWS, told The News Courier on Thursday afternoon Athens and Limestone County residents can expect a decent weekend before the temperatures turn cold. Time enough to wrap your pipes, check on Grandma and prepare your outdoor pets.
"We will get some high pressure and some southerly winds this weekend, so it will be warmer," Saari said. "There is a cold front here now, and then we will have a warm-up — 55 degrees Saturday and 61 degrees Sunday. Sunday night will bring temperatures in the 40s, but then they will drop as low as 28 Monday night."
She urged residents not to underestimate the impact of the temperature change.
"Going from 40 to 28 at night, you are really gonna feel it," Saari said.
Whether it will snow during the cold snap is uncertain; it comes down to a race between the arrival of cold air and the arrival of dry air to push the precipitation out, she said.
She likened it to making a cupcake.
"You need all the ingredients to make a cupcake," Saari said. "If one is missing, you're not going to have snow. If it's dry, then there won't be any snow. But if precipitation is slow and temperatures do drop, you could have some."
While Saari is confident it will rain, she said her confidence in snow is low.
"We need all the ingredients in a certain window to make it happen," she said.
Frigid temperatures are expected to arrive after the weekend. Daytime temperatures Monday will reach about 57 degrees as the existing cold front passes, Saari said, but by Tuesday, daytime temperatures will fall to about 37 degrees, a 20-degree drop.
Tuesday night will bring temperatures of about 21 degrees, Saari said, adding the wind-chill factor will only make it worse.
"Wind chill is not just the air temperature, but how cold it feels to your body when you add wind," she said. "It will be about 28 degrees Monday night, but the wind chill will make it feel like 15 to 20 degrees."
Wednesday will also be cold, with a high of about 43 during the day and a low of about 27 Wednesday night.
Thursday, the last day Saari can predict with confidence, should be slightly warmer with a high of 48 and a low of 32, she said.
"Check the elderly and pets to make sure they are warm and dry," Saari said. "Make sure kids are bundled up at the bus stop, and make sure you are warm when traveling to the grocery store or elsewhere."
She also advised making sure sprinklers are blown out and faucets are left dripping during the cold so pipes don't freeze.
"You know your own house, so you know the precautionary measures to take care of it," she said.