The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for central Alabama through Thursday night. Snowfall is predicted in several central and northern Alabama counties.
The Birmingham NWS Office says snowfall is expected to begin in Alabama's western counties around 6 a.m. and could last until 6 p.m. in the eastern counties.
A winter storm watch means there is a potential for significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel.
"One-half to two inches is expected north of a line from Aliceville to Jemison to Roanoke, but there could be a couple of areas that receive up to four inches in a short period of time," the NWS said in an alert issued at 3:43 p.m. Wednesday.
The following central Alabama counties are included in the winter storm watch:
Marion, Lamar, Fayette, Winston, Walker, Blount, Etowah, Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne, Pickens, Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Clay, Randolph, Bibb, Chilton, Coosa, Tallapoosa and Chambers.
Several north Alabama counties were already under a winter storm watch issued Wednesday by the NWS Huntsville office.
This type of winter storm is not the classic setup for heavy snow in Alabama, according to FOX6 weather expert Dr. Tim Coleman.
"It looked yesterday like most of the precipitation would come in before the cold air, and we would only get one inch of snow, with most of that staying on the grass, cars, etc. But, a minor change to the shape of the upper low as it moves through here looks like it may cause more snow," Coleman posted today on the FOX6 Weather Blog.
He says with the current models, it could be cold enough for Birmingham to see snow around 9 a.m. Thursday. He expects the temperatures to drop to near freezing in Birmingham for about two or three hours in the afternoon, allowing some snow accumulation mostly in grassy areas.
"It looks like some places will get three inches (or more) of total snowfall, but a lot of it will melt initially and not accumulate. However, if enough snow falls, temperatures will drop and snow may start to accumulate on some bridges, causing travel problems," he added.
Read Dr. Coleman's latest weather blog post on the snowfall forecast here: Thursday snow update
FOX6 Chief Meteorologist J-P Dice will have an update on the forecast on Fox 6 News at 5 p.m. and Dr. Coleman will update the weather blog again at 9:30 p.m.
So far, only Cullman County Schools have announced a delay due to the weather. They will delay school for two hours on Thursday morning.
You can check school, daycare and business closings online at www.MyFoxClosings.com.
Keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts at www.myfoxstorm.com.
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