Slow season for snow

Published 7:27 pm Saturday, December 20, 2008

The cold weather coming to the area today may only be an aberration compared to the rest of this winter.

The National Weather Service is predicting that the winter season, which begins today, should be much warmer and drier than normal across the state of Alabama. That means the temperatures of last week, which averaged 10 degrees warmer than normal, could be closer to what we will see over the whole season.

The last few weeks, however, have been much colder and wetter than that prediction has been.

“We’re going to have to get a lot warmer and drier to achieve that prediction,” weather service meteorologist Scott Unger said.

Fortunately, the rainy weather pattern has helped the area almost completely pull out of its drought conditions. The current U.S. Drought Monitor report has still classified Chilton County as being abnormally dry, but there is no area in the state that is in a moderate drought area or worse.

“The months of November and December, along with our spring months, are important to building up our supply of water,” Unger said. “During these months, we see more regular and widespread rainfall. We have much more organized storm systems that come through the area instead of pop-up thunderstorms that are seen in the summer.

“This allows our reservoirs to fill back up so we can last through the rest of the year,” he added.

Unger said he doesn’t know whether the area will see any snow this winter, but he is sure the area likely won’t see a White Christmas.

“There is no chance of snow anytime in the near future. There isn’t going to be enough cold air to cause any frozen precipitation,” Unger said.

The winter solstice occurs this morning around 6, which is the point where Earth’s North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the shortest day of sunlight. Sunrise occurs at 6:45 a.m., and sunset occurs at 4:45 p.m. There is only 10 hours of sunlight compared to almost 14 1/2 hours on the first day of summer.