The chance for snow continues to increase for parts of the South and Southeast for early next week. A potent cold front will move out of the Southern Plains into the South by Monday afternoon. Temperatures behind this front will quickly fall to near or below freezing. At the same time, an upper-level shortwave will move overhead. This shortwave combined with the vertical profile of the cold front will generate a strong upward motion in the atmosphere to allow precipitation to develop along and behind the cold front. Precipitation immediately behind the cold front will fall as rain Monday night and quickly transition to wet snow by Tuesday.
The first areas to experience snow will be eastern Oklahoma, northeast Texas, Arkansas, western Tennessee and northern Louisiana Monday night. The rain & snow will move east and southward by early Tuesday morning into central Tennessee and parts of Mississippi (see Fig. 1) before moving further east into parts of Alabama and Georgia later on Tuesday (see Fig. 2). It is possible parts of upstate South Carolina may even see a light rain & snow mix by late Tuesday.
While this is not a setup that climatologically produces major snow events, it appears accumulations are possible if not likely. Being a few days out, it is extremely difficult to forecast snowfall amounts. Especially given the warm day before the snow falls. However, the snow rates should exceed melting and the best chance for accumulations will across northern & central Mississippi, Tennessee, northern & central Alabama, northern Louisiana and northern Georgia (see Fig. 3). At this point, it appears some areas may see 1-4″. This will impact travel, especially for areas that see snow fall pre-dawn on Tuesday.
It should also be noted, a weak shortwave will move into the South and Southeast late Saturday into Sunday. Overall, this shortwave should not develop much precipitation but a sprinkle or flurry is possible across northern Mississippi, northern Alabama and northern Georgia during this timeframe. Again, do not expect anything significant. It is likely that most areas will only see an increase in clouds. Late next week also needs to be monitored closely as a strong arctic front moves into the South and Southeast. A strong temperature gradient could allow for a surface low-pressure to develop, which could generate wintry precipitation for the region (more details to come as we get closer).
Christopher Nunley is Meteorologist on Firsthand Weather, Lecturer in the Department of Geosciences at Mississippi State University (MSU), and a PhD Candidate (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences) at MSU. He earned his M.S. in Applied Meteorology at MSU, was an Assistant Cross Country Coach and taught at the University of North Texas, and was a Broadcast Meteorologist at KTEN-TV (just north of Dallas, Texas). Christopher’s main focus lies within teaching and inspiring prospective meteorology students, atmospheric research to further our understanding of atmospheric processes, and forecasting and analyzing extreme weather events to help save lives!