Greetings from the soon to be very cold NWS Office in Mobile,
Here is the latest on the exceptionally strong blast of arctic air on the way to the area. A strong cold front will push quickly through the area this evening and bring a blast of arctic air that is so strong it can be considered historic in nature.
Not only will records be smashed at both Mobile and Pensacola Monday night, after checking the records for the first week of January, this is an exceptional event. At Mobile our forecast low of 13 for Monday night will not only smash the current record of 18 set in 1970, it will also be the coldest air ever seen at Mobile for the first week of January in over 170 years (records going back to 1842). The record will be smashed at Pensacola as well for Monday night with our forecast low of 16 breaking the record of 19 set back in 1924. This temperature will be the second coldest ever recorded at Pensacola in over 130 years for the first week of January (records going back to 1879). Just fyi, but the current coldest temperatures for the first week of January at Mobile is 14 and is also 14 at Pensacola.
This bitterly cold weather can easily bust exposed/unprotected water pipes and cause serious engine problems in cars without anti-freeze protection. We also tend to see a significant rise in demand at area shelters and support agencies for the homeless during cold periods such as what we are projecting starting Monday night.
We have issued a freeze warning for our entire area late tonight into Monday morning as temperatures drop to the mid 20s well inland to around 30 near the coast. We typically do not issue freeze warnings this late into the season, but this was done to heighten awareness. We have also upgraded the hard freeze watch to a hard freeze warning late Monday evening into Tuesday morning as temperatures drop as low as 11 to 15 for much of the area except for upper teens near the immediate coast.
Another very cold night is expected for Tuesday night with temperatures in the mid to upper teens across most of the area except for around 20 closer to the coast. This means that another hard freeze is likely Tuesday night.
Strong winds will affect the marine area and a gale warning is now in effect for the Gulf waters out 60 nm including the southern Mobile Bay area from early this evening through Monday afternoon for northerly winds of 25 to 30 knots with frequent gusts to 35 to 45 knots. Seas will build to up to 8 to 12 feet well offshore. A small craft advisory is in effect during the same time period for northern Mobile Bay, Perdido Bay and the northwest Florida bay waters.
A wind advisory is also in effect tonight through Monday afternoon for northwest winds of 15 to 25 mph in the wake of the front with gusts up to 35 mph possible. With the brisk wind and dropping temperatures, we have issued a wind chill advisory for interior areas late tonight into Monday morning for wind chill values dropping as low as 6 to 10. We also have a wind chill advisory in effect from Monday evening to Tuesday morning for values dropping to as low as zero to 7. We do not issue advisory products that far out, but due to high confidence in this event and to heighten awareness as much as possible about the low wind chill values, our office in conjunction with some neighboring offices have taken the extraordinary step to issue this advisory.
This system may also bring some wintry precipitation to part of the area north of the Highway 84 corridor late tonight, probably in the form of snow flurries or light snow. There will be no accumulation however as despite the cold air moving into the area, ground temperatures will quickly melt whatever falls.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. Bundle up and stay warm!