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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2007
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CSX track inspectors pour water on fires they set on rails at the Second Street Southwest crossing Tuesday afternoon. Bert Swann and James Ray use heat from the fires to adjust the rails, which contract during cold weather.
Daily photo by John Godbey
CSX track inspectors pour water on fires they set on rails at the Second Street Southwest crossing Tuesday afternoon. Bert Swann and James Ray use heat from the fires to adjust the rails, which contract during cold weather.

Snow on track
for area?

Frozen precipitation possible for Valley, followed by heavy rain

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

If you're already planning to skip work or school and spend Thursday building a snowman, you might be better off just eating that carrot.

The chance of wintry precipitation hinges on the timing of a storm system hitting a chilly Tennessee Valley, the National Weather Service said.

Meteorologist Steve Shumway with the Huntsville office said while Decatur likely will see some snow or sleet in the early morning hours, the bulk of the precipitation will fall as rain after temperatures have warmed later in the day.

"It just looks like it's going to be too warm for any significant snow or sleet. Anything freezing looks like it's going to be very minimal, and it looks like you'll get maybe an inch of rain before it's all over with," Shumway said.

Temperatures should be the coldest, in the low 30s, before dawn and reach highs in the low 40s later Thursday.

"We should get some sleet and maybe a little snow in there in the early morning, but around nine or 10 o'clock, it's going to all turn to rain. There's not going to be a whole lot of freezing precipitation. That's what it looks like now. But it could still be dangerous because it could be slick in some areas. Motorists just need to be highly prepared on Thursday morning. Take some time and drive slow," Shumway said.

Borderline freezing temperatures projected for Thursday morning made it difficult to say whether roads will be icy, Shumway said.

Also, a slight deviation from predicted patterns could make a big difference in what comes from the sky, he said.

"It doesn't look like the bulk of the rain will be until the afternoon hours. But it all depends on timing. A little change in the track of the storm could make it all freezing or all rain," he said.

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