A white Christmas? Possible but not likely here

Published 5:31 pm Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jeanna Barnes was dropping the “s” word on Wednesday night.

Snow? In Pike County? For Christmas?

It was possible, she said, adding that weather forecasters were predicting the possibility of snow across Central Alabama on Christmas.

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By Thursday afternoon, the possibility of a white Christmas in Pike County seemed less likely.

“There is still a possibility of rain turning to snow or flurries Saturday afternoon,” Barnes said. ‘But the highest concern we have at this time is that any precipitation we may have could freeze as the colder temperatures move in from the north.”

That would cause concern about ice on bridges and roads in the county.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service are predicting that a strong storm system will move across the northern Gulf in the next three days, brining with a small threat of light snow in portions of central Alabama.

The forecast is being driven by a low front in the Gulf, Barnes said. “A lot of it depends on how far north or south it goes and how far east. If it moves too fast, by the time the cold weather gets here there won’t be any more moisture.”

Forecasts call for a cold rain over most of Central Alabama during the day on Saturday. As the colder air moves into the region, rain will transition to snow in the afternoon. Even the southern areas, such as Pike County, could see a “brief” changeover to snow or a mix of snow and rain before the drier air arrives on Saturday night. No accumulation is expected.

Of course, forecasts also are hedging their bets, saying that “many uncertainties remain with regards to this forecast.”

Local officials are watching the weather and will be on standby if icy conditions occur.

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage said his officers would watch for changes in the weather and, if necessary, he will deploy officers on Saturday to attend to icy bridges or roads.

Barnes said the county road crews also were on standby, with sand at the ready if icing does occur.

She also said the likelihood of a true white Christmas for Pike County is too hard to predict. “The conditions have to be absolutely just right to get a Deep South snow,” she said.