Sunshine and mild temps next few days. Rainy and unsettled to end out the week and head into the weekend.

We’ll start early on this Tuesday morning by looking at the big picture across the country. Despite being mostly quiet across our area and the center of the nation, it’s kind of a convoluted weather pattern across the country as a whole. The upper low that brought the rainy weather to our area on Sunday is just now shifting out into the western Atlantic, with a new upper-level system that’s brought all the flooding to California moving onshore on the West Coast. Between that, we have a large upper-level ridge of high pressure extending through the Plains from northern Mexico and Texas up into the Great Lakes. With such a “blocky” weather pattern, we won’t see too much change over the next couple of days, but things will eventually get on the move toward the latter part of the week.

Back closer to home, that northerly flow between the departing upper-level low and the high pressure ridge to our west has allowed drier air to filter in for now, and that means seasonably cool conditions for the overnight hours. Temperatures across our area range from just below freezing in the U.S. 412 corridor of middle Tennessee to the lower 40s across parts of northwest Alabama. We have a few more hours to go before we reach our morning lows, and as low-level winds settle some closer to daybreak, most of us will drop into the low to mid 30s. Those areas that have already dropped below freezing this early in the morning will likely make it on down into the 20s by daybreak.

We see no reason to believe clear skies won’t continue for our Tuesday. We might see a high cloud or two here and there, but expect plenty of sunshine and seasonable mind temperatures. Daytime highs this afternoon will range from the upper 50s to the lower 60s. Skies stay clear overnight tonight, and we drop back to a range between the upper 20s in the sheltered valley areas of southern middle Tennessee to the mid 30s in portions of north Alabama.

Our weather does change, but it takes a little while for us to get there. Mostly sunny and mild weather continues for Wednesday and even into Thursday, although clouds will start increasing beginning on Thursday. A few showers are introduced to the forecast during the overnight hours of Thursday night as the next frontal boundary gradually approaches from the northwest. This frontal system is the start of an unsettled weather pattern that begins with a few showers and thunderstorms during the day on Friday, with increasing chances of a more widespread period of showers and rumbles of thunder Friday night. We don’t expect any severe storms during this time, but we may have some locally heavy rainfall, especially going into Friday night.

Models are beginning to converge on the idea that Saturday looks to be a pretty wet and rumbly day with locally heavy rain and embedded thunder across the area. We still don’t expect severe storms, but we may have to watch out for some localized street flooding with periods of moderate to heavy rain. Models are undecided on whether the heavier rain shifts south of our area or remains near us for Sunday, but in either scenario, the chance for at least some rain looks to remain elevated through Sunday. The 7-day rainfall forecast from the NWS Weather Prediction Center office shows a widespread 0.75″ to 1.5″ of rain; however, models are starting to show better consistency in the idea of disturbances riding up the stalled frontal boundary through the weekend giving us periods of heavy rainfall. Both the GFS and Euro models show a widespread near or over 2 inches of rain, with some isolated heavier totals possible. The WPC will likely be trending upward with their forecast totals. We currently have our rain chances for the weekend capped at a max of 60% because of timing uncertainties with exactly when the most widespread and heaviest rain looks to happen, and also how far north Sunday’s heavier rain area will extend. As these details get worked out in the data, we will likely be upping these rain chances significantly (into the 80-100% range) once we get the smaller-scale details ironed out.

Temperatures through the next seven days look to run generally on the milder side, with daytime highs near or into the low/mid 60s all the way through the weekend. Overnight lows even come up into the 40s and eventually 50s as we get into the rainy and unsettled weekend weather pattern. It does look like slightly cooler air begins easing in here early next week, but still nothing too far from normal. We do continue to see general long-range signs of a shift back toward below average temperatures for the middle to latter part of the month. The 8 to 14 day temperature outlook from the NWS Climate Prediction Center shows this with below average temperatures expected for much of the Deep South. However, keep in mind that that doesn’t automatically mean bitter cold! Our average daytime high here in the middle of the month is the mid to upper 50s. At some point, we will likely see a return to colder air. It is February after all, and we are still deep in the middle of winter. However, be careful what you believe on social media when you see long range predictions of “the coldest air so far this winter” and other such attention-seeking headlines. We do well to get a solid forecast for the next 5-7 days out there, and while there IS skill in general large-scale pattern recognition out past the 7-day period, there is little to no skill in trying to give you specific details beyond 7-10 days. The arctic outbreak we had in January brought some of the coldest air our local area has seen in decades. To have that happen in the local area more than once in one winter season isn’t impossible, but it would be nearly unprecedented.

The truth of the matter is, we just simply don’t know the details of how cold it may get later in the month, whether there will possibly be wintry precipitation involved, etc. We don’t withhold credible information here, but we also don’t play the attention-seeking game of trying to hype up things in the extended just to get you to follow along. We’d much rather you follow along because we do our best to be a credible source of local weather information that may actually have some benefit to you! We’ll tell you when we’re confident about something, and we also have no shame in telling you when we don’t know something or something is simply too far out for ANYBODY to have a good handle on. But it’s also important to understand the difference between people posting wild things that are 2-4 weeks out that never happen to get you to like and share, and those others that are posting general ideas about pattern recognition, and general large-scale trends (there IS benefit and credible science in that). It’s NOT a complete guessing game out in the extended range. We just can’t give details for that far out. It’s kind of like driving down the highway and seeing a road sign off in the distance. Way far away, you see the road sign, but you’re too far away to see exactly what it says. As you get closer, you recognize its general shape and color and what that means based on your knowledge of driving rules. Once you get closer and you’re within reading distance, you’re able to see the full message. Large scale general trends that can lead to cooler/warmer and drier/wetter than normal weather can be spotted with some degree of confidence a few weeks in advance. As we start sneaking into the 8-14 day period, we still can’t give you exact specific details, but we can start getting confidence in how much colder/warmer than average we’re talking and we can start getting the first large-scale signals for individual weather systems to watch. Once we get within that 7-day window, we have already been watching potential weather systems for a few days to get an idea of consistency in possible large-scale weather setups, and then we continue to iron out the details as we get closer and closer.

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