Warm temps and rain arriving today. Much colder for Saturday. Quick warm up again next week.

By February standards at least, we are mild across the Tennessee Valley early on this Friday morning. Temperatures across most of the area are holding in the mid to upper 40s thanks to cloud cover acting as an insulating blanket across the area, although Hohenwald and Lewisburg have snuck down to the lower 40s. We may drop a couple more degrees this morning, but overall, temperatures won’t much too much for the rest of this early morning.

Expect another breezy and warm day on this Friday ahead of the next approaching cold front. Skies will be mostly cloudy today, but we will see some sun at times. That and southwest winds as high as 15 to 20 mph at times will help us get up into the mid to upper 60s once again, but a few folks in north Alabama and north Mississippi might indeed make a brief run at 70 or 71 degrees. By mid to late afternoon, showers and a few thundershowers will start to develop along the cold front to our northwest near the I-40 area of western/middle Tennessee, and these will move down into our area near sunset and on through the evening hours. No severe storms are expected, but some locally heavy downpours for a short time and a few rumbles of thunder are likely. Temperatures turn sharply cooler as the rain settles in, dropping into the 40s from north to south by mid evening, and then into the mid to upper 30s as the rain starts to shift out in the late evening and overnight. Temperatures will continue to drop toward the upper 20s to lower 30s by daybreak as clouds begin to break up a little, but with a gusty north wind of 15-25 mph, wind chill values around sunrise could be as low as the mid to upper 10s!

Saturday will be a much colder day, with clouds stubbornly hanging around and gusty north winds keeping us into the lower 40s. It’s very possible some parts of middle Tennessee may not get out of the upper 30s for daytime highs! Overnight Saturday night, we all fall deep into the low to mid 20s. This will be a quick-hitting shot of cold air though. We return to partly cloudy skies by Sunday as temperatures begin to moderate back into the lower 50s by afternoon. Even warmer still going into next week. Upper 50s to near 60 on Monday and then well up into the 60s by mid week. We may be knocking on the door of 70 degrees Wednesday before another front brings us showers and maybe a rumble of thunder toward next Thursday into Thursday night.

More good news in the drought department. The latest update to the Drought Monitor released on Thursday shows that all of our Alabama counties are reduced to just “Abnormally Dry” or just not outlined at all. This means drought conditions are over in Alabama! Southern middle Tennessee’s drought conditions have also been downgraded a category everywhere. Rainfall has been plentiful the past 30 days, with most area getting between 5 to 12 inches of rain during that time. That’s 110% to as much as double the amount of rain we usually get during this period. However, those drought conditions still officially persist over southern middle Tennessee because of long-term rainfall deficits. Some areas along the Highway 64 corridor of southern Tennessee still have 365 day rainfall deficits of near 2 FEET, and it will take time to work on these. However, we expect rainy systems to continue to come as we look into the future, and we often have active wet and stormy weather in the spring months coming out of a strong El Nino pattern like we have had this winter. This will help to work on the drought, and it’s very possible that we could whittle away enough on those long-term deficits to be completely removed from drought conditions in the official sense as we head into spring. It’s not the short-term water levels and soil conditions. Those are fine. It’s the longer-term rainfall deficits that need some work, but we’re heading in the right direction, and we’ll get there!

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Ben Luna

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