Area braced for cold, ice
The Hartselle area braced for a predicted snow and ice storm that was expected to continue through today.
As of early press time Saturday, an Arctic front was expected to push through the area early Sunday morning and bring extreme cold and chances of snow and ice.
As of Saturday morning, the weather service was expecting two to four inches of accumulating snow on Monday with higher amounts over Northwest Alabama. Up to three tenths of an inch was also possible mainly south of the Tennessee River and east of I-65.
A wind chill advisory was also in effect Sunday, as wind chill values dipped below zero degrees.
Monday’s precipitation was expected to be a drier snow, but the area was bracing for an ice event on Tuesday, as a rain and snow mixture was expected to fall. Icing and black ice were possibilities for Wednesday with the overnight temperatures dropping back below freezing.
“We are definitely expecting more of a mess for Wednesday right now than Monday or Tuesday because of the slight rise in temperatures Tuesday,” said Kurt Weber, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Huntsville, on Friday. “Black ice might be a very real chance for Wednesday morning. There’s still a light chance of snow on Wednesday, and temperatures will struggle to get back into the 40’s by Friday.”
Monday’s precipitation is expected to be a drier snow, but Tuesday’s precipitation may be more of a rain and snow mixture since temperatures are expected to rise slightly above freezing. Ice is more of a possibility for Wednesdays with the overnight temperatures chilling the expected precipitation.
“We are definitely expecting more of a mess for Wednesday right now than Monday or Tuesday because of the slight rise in temperatures Tuesday,” said Kurt Weber, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Huntsville. “Black ice might be a very real chance for Wednesday morning. There’s still a light chance of snow on Wednesday, and temperatures will struggle to get back into the 40’s by Friday.”
Weber said the inconsistency in their models has not given them much confidence in the upcoming weather forecasts.
“Our models are all showing something different, and they are changing every day, so we will just have to keep a check on it,” Weber said. “We aren’t really confident of anything except the dropping temperatures. We urge everyone to keep tuned in to weather updates in their area.”
Morgan County Emergency Management Agency director Eddie Hicks said all the law enforcement agencies and road crews had been alerted of the possible upcoming weather conditions. He said they would open up warming shelters if power outages were reported with subfreezing temperatures.
“If we hear of power outages, we will open a warm shelter in the affected area,” Hicks said. “They are usually in a senior center, parks and recreation building, school or church. We try to place them in the most effective place within the outage.”
Hartselle’s Public Works director Daxton Maze said they would make sure sand trucks are ready to go before the end of the day Friday.
“We rely on the Morgan County EMA for alerts, but we are already preparing for winter weather,” Maze said. “We will fill sand trucks ahead of time, so they will be ready to spread it preventatively if needed.”
Maze said the predicted amount of snow accumulation should not be a problem, but they will be keeping an eye on the weather and will do their best to keep ice off the roadways.
“Generally the traffic keeps the roads warm enough that a little snow won’t stick or cause a problem, but we will be watching to make sure we can prevent ice,” Maze said. “We want everyone to be mindful of the weather, and stay off the roads if possible.”
Maze said the public works department and the Hartselle police will be monitoring road conditions, but people are welcome to report unsafe conditions to the public works office at 256-773-2643.