CLOUDS INCREASING: Expect a mostly cloudy sky across North/Central Alabama through tomorrow, and we will mention the chance of a few showers, but the most widespread rain will be to the north, closer to the Tennessee border near a surface front that is stalling out. Temperatures will hold in the 50s tonight, and we will rise into the upper 60s tomorrow afternoon as the warming trend continues.
A good chance we touch 70 degrees Thursday afternoon, and as an upper ridge begins to build the chance of a shower will be pretty small, although clouds will linger over much of the state.
MILD WEEKEND: Friday through Sunday we project highs in the 70- to 74-degree range with a mix of sun and clouds each day. The upper ridge will keep the rain west and north of the state over the weekend; it will be a very nice preview of spring.
NEXT WEEK: The ridge weakens a bit, allowing a storm system to bring rain back to the state on Tuesday; the latest Global Forecast System is a little weaker with the system, suggesting rain amounts under one-half inch and no risk of severe storms. Relatively mild weather will continue through the rest of the week.
35 YEARS AGO: On Jan. 10, 1982, the low in Birmingham was 2 degrees; it would drop to 1 below zero the following day. Then, in coming days, Birmingham would experience one of its worst ice storms of the 20th century as freezing rain and sleet swept into Central Alabama about midday on Jan. 12, 1982. Morning forecasts had called for a winter storm watch for occasional sleet and freezing rain that would arrive by sundown. By mid-morning, as freezing rain and sleet across South Alabama was spreading rapidly north, the watch was changed to a winter storm warning.
The snow arrived about eight hours earlier than anticipated in the Birmingham area and quickly changed over to a mix of freezing rain and sleet that turned roads into skating rinks. Thousands of motorists had to abandon their vehicles on roads and hike home or spend the night in shelters. Brookwood Village mall became a huge shelter. So many wrecks occurred that the Birmingham Police Department could not answer the calls for accident investigation. As temperatures hovered near the freezing mark through the night, freezing rain created a thick coating on all exposed objects. Trees snapped, pulling down power lines and putting as many as 750,000 Alabamians in the dark. A state of emergency was declared in Alabama, and National Guard Armories were opened to serve as shelters.
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