Arctic Blast Will Bring Record Cold on Thursday 2/19

Overview: The next Arctic front will move through Nashville by Wednesday afternoon (2/18) and through Birmingham/Atlanta by Wednesday evening.  This airmass will bring record-cold temperatures to the area, even breaking record-cold high temperatures.


Final Update #4 Friday 2/20 11 pm EST: The following are the official records tied or broken, as predicted.  A warming trend is now underway as the well-predicted Arctic airmass retreats and no further updates will be provided on this page.  View all previous updates by scrolling down the page.  The are archived from newest to oldest (top to bottom).

Record-Coldest High Temperatures Broken

Four record-low high temperatures were set at the primary climate sites in Georgia on Thursday 2/19/15

  • Atlanta: High on Thursday 2/19 was 28º - Broke the old record of 36º set in 1958
  • Athens: High on Thursday 2/19 was 29º - Broke the old record of 37º set in 1972
  • Columbus: High on Thursday 2/19 was 35º - Broke the old record of 39º set in 1928
  • Macon: High on Thursday 2/19 was 34º - Broke the old record of 43º set in 1972

Record Low Temperatures (Nighttime/Morning Lows) Broken

Four record-low temperatures were set at the primary climate sites in Georgia on Friday 2/20/15

  • Atlanta: Low on Friday 2/20 was 16º -  Tied the record of 16º set in 1934
  • Athens: Low on Friday 2/20 was 14º - Broke the old record of 18º set in 1958
  • Columbus: Low on Friday 2/20 was 21º - Broke the old record of 22º set in 1958
  • Macon: Low on Friday 2/20 was 18º - Broke the old record of 21º set in 1958

Update #3:  My Latest Forecast for Thursday 2/19 through Sunday 2/22

Forecast Posted: Thursday 2/19 4:30 am

***Wind Chill Advisory In Effect Through 2 pm Today***

  • Today: Sunny. High in the upper 20s (today will be the coldest 2/19 ever recorded)
  • Tonight: Increasing clouds. Low around 15º (colder suburbs; this will be near a record low)
  • Friday: Overcast. High in the mid 30s (warming trend begins)
  • Saturday: Overcast. High in the lower 50s
  • Sunday: Rain likely. Chance of rain near 100%. High near 60º

Update #2 Wednesday 2/18 11:45 pm EST: 

  • The snow showers will end soon, as extremely dry air advects in from the north.
  • Temperatures are already falling into the teens in the northern metro.
  • Everyone will be well into the teens by sunrise.
  • Tomorrow's high (Thursday) will be in the upper 20s (this will be the coldest February 19th on record in Atlanta).
  • At this time, I am still *NOT* predicting any winter precipitation in the Atlanta metro this weekend.
  • A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for areas NORTH of a line from Rome to Canton to Gainesville.
  • I feel that the placement of the Watch is reasonable, because I do not expect any winter precipitation south of that line.
  • Warming trend this weekend, with RAIN on Sunday.

*I will continue to monitor the data and update as necessary. Please bookmark this page so you can check back for future updates.


Special Update #1 Wednesday 2/18 9 pm EST: The Arctic front has cleared the Atlanta metro, as predicted, and temperatures are dropping rapidly through the 20s.  Additionally, snow showers are developing across the area as I forecasted (further down this page).  Here is the 9 pm EST position of the Arctic front and 9 pm temperatures, followed by the radar image from 8:45 pm.

Position of fronts and current temperatures at 9:00 pm EST 2/18/15

Radar image at 8:45 pm (Wednesday 2/18) showing snow showers forming around the Atlanta metro
Radar image at 8:45 pm (Wednesday 2/18) showing snow showers forming around the Atlanta metro (ending by midnight)

Previous Forecast Discussion Posted on Tuesday, February 17

We continue in a very active weather pattern, and yet another Arctic blast is on the way for the Southeast.  This follows an ice storm earlier in the week, which toppled trees, snapped power lines, and left many hundreds of thousands of people without power in Tennessee and northern Georgia.

The next Arctic front will move through Nashville by Wednesday afternoon (2/18) and through Birmingham/Atlanta by Wednesday evening.  This airmass will bring record-cold temperatures to the area, even breaking record-cold high temperatures.

Looking into the long-range (through the next 10 days), I expect additional surges of Arctic air, the next of which should move into the Southeast early next week.  For now, let's focus only on the next 48 to 72 hours.

Wind Chill Advisory for North and Central Georgia

A Wind Chill Advisory has been issued for all of north and central Georgia effective 7 pm today through noon tomorrow (Thursday). These are rarely issued, so take heed. Here are some highlights:

  • Arctic front will move through Atlanta late today
  • Winds of 20 to 25 mph (higher gusts) behind the front
  • Temperatures falling into the teens tonight
  • Wind chills will be in the range of 5º above to 5º below
  • Dress in layers if you must be outdoors
  • Temperatures tonight near record lows
  • High temperature on Thursday only in the 20s
Wind Chill Advisory 7 pm tonight (Wednesday 2/18) through noon tomorrow (Thursday 2/19)

Wind Chill Advisory 7 pm tonight (Wednesday 2/18) through noon tomorrow (Thursday 2/19)

Records Lows and Record-Low High Temperatures in Jeopardy

Morning lows on Thursday and Friday will be in the lower single digits across Middle Tennessee and in the teens across northern Alabama/Georgia.  Afternoon highs on Thursday will only be in the 20s in the Atlanta area, and in the teens across Middle Tennessee.

Records Lows for Thursday (2/19)

  • Atlanta: 13º set in 1958  My forecast: 12º to 16º
  • Nashville: 5º set in 1958  My forecast: 2º to 6º
  • Birmingham: 12º set in 1958  My forecast: 12º to 16º

Coldest High Temperatures on Record for Thursday (2/19)

  • Atlanta: 36º set in 1958  My forecast: 26º to 30º
  • Nashville: 26º set in 2006  My forecast: 16º to 20º
  • Birmingham: 36º set in 1936  My forecast: 28º to 32º

On Friday, Atlanta may also be near records yet again (Atlanta’s record low for Friday is 16º set in 1934, and the record-cold high temperature is 32º set in 1901).  Right now, I expect morning lows on Friday to be in the single digits in the suburbs to the lower teens in the city.  High temperatures on Friday should be in the mid 30s.

FAQ:  What does "record-lowest high temperature" or "record-coldest high temperature" mean?

We're all familiar with the concept of "record high".  We hear this term sometimes when the high temperature on a certain day was hotter than has ever been recorded on that date.  Well, now think about the opposite end of that range.  There is also a "lowest" high temperature on record for any given date.  It is actually quite simple, but many people seem confused by this concept and I have received several questions about it.

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Snow Showers Possible Wednesday and Wednesday Night

[Posted: Tuesday 2/17 at 11:40 pm] Thermodynamic profiles suggest that snow flurries may form tomorrow (Wednesday 2/18) and continue off/on through the night as 850mb temperatures drop to near -20ºC (-4ºF).  Snow showers can form in this situation, when there is weak atmospheric forcing and orographic lift over the hilly terrain in northwest Georgia, and via the microphysics of ice nucleation when temperatures within the cloud layer are colder than -10ºC.

Historically, the favored region for this phenomenon is north of a line from Carrollton to Newnan to Covington to Gainesville, northwestward into extreme northern Alabama and throughout Middle Tennessee.  These events are just a novelty and rarely cause accumulations greater than a dusting.

Thermodynamic profile favorable for snow flurries today (Wednesday) through tonight across northern Georgia

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Previous Forecast (Posted Tuesday 2/17)

  • Wednesday: Mostly cloudy. Scattered snow showers. High around 40º, with falling temperatures
  • Wednesday night: Scattered snow showers through midnight. Clearing late. Low in the lower teens
  • Thursday: Clear. High temperature 25º to 30º
  • Thursday Night: Clear. Lower teens (some suburbs in the single digits)
  • Friday: Increasing clouds. High in the lower 30s
  • Saturday: Overcast. High around 50º
  • Sunday:  Overcast. Rain/Tstorms. Lower 60s. Chance of rain is 100% [Categorical forecast 100% added Wed 2/18]

Note:  My latest forecast is posted at the top of this page.  Return to the top


Temperature Maps for Thursday

Expected low temperatures for Wednesday night into Thursday morning (2/19)

Expected low temperatures for Wednesday night into Thursday morning (2/19)

Expected high temperatures Thursday afternoon (2/19)

Expected high temperatures Thursday afternoon (2/19)

As always, I will fine-tune the forecast, as necessary, with future data.

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