Hard Freeze for Alabama Tonight: More Arctic Air By Friday
The Chilling Reality: Alabama’s Deep Freeze
Alabama is bracing for an extraordinary wave of Arctic air, leading to a hard freeze that’s predicted to grip the state with unusually low temperatures. This weather event, marked by temperatures dipping into the 5-15 degree range across most of Alabama, is not just a fleeting cold spell but a significant meteorological occurrence that merits close examination and preparation.
The Current Scenario
As of January 16, 2024, northern Alabama is already experiencing sub-freezing temperatures, with some communities in the Tennessee Valley barely out of the teens despite sunny skies. The imminent hard freeze tonight is expected to bring temperatures to even lower ranges, potentially dropping to the upper teens even down to the Gulf Coast.
Subsequent days will see a slight rise in temperatures, but the relief will be short-lived as another surge of Arctic air invades the Deep South by Friday.
Implications and Precautions
This hard freeze warning, in effect from Friday, December 23, at 12:00 a.m. until Sunday, December 25, 9:00 a.m., includes a vast swath of counties in Alabama. The implications of such extreme cold are multifaceted, affecting everything from infrastructure to personal safety. Residents are advised to take several precautionary steps:
- Protect People and Pets: Ensure that everyone, including animals, has access to adequate warmth.
- Prevent Pipe Freezing: Pipes should be wrapped, drained, or allowed to drip slowly to prevent bursting due to freezing.
- Safe Heating Practices: Space heaters should be used cautiously, maintaining a safe distance from flammable materials and ensuring proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Travel Preparedness: Those traveling should carry an emergency supply kit in their vehicles.
- Plant Protection: Tender plants should be shielded from the cold.
Weather Trends and Historical Context
This weather pattern is not entirely unprecedented. Alabama’s climatological history shows a range of weather extremes, especially during the winter months. For instance, Birmingham’s coldest day on record was -10°F on February 13, 1899, during a historic cold wave.
On average, February, the middle month of Alabama’s wettest season, witnesses about 4.53 inches of rainfall with an average of 0.1 inches of snow.
Following this hard freeze, Alabama expects a warming trend with temperatures reaching the 60s over the latter half of the week. However, this period will also bring unsettled weather with a risk of rain from Tuesday through Thursday.
Alabama’s weather is a study in contrasts, from sweltering summers to frigid winters. This hard freeze serves as a stark reminder of nature’s unpredictability and the need for preparedness. As residents bundle up against the cold, they can also look forward to the warmer days ahead, a characteristic swing of the Southern climate.