James Spann: Warm January weather ahead for Alabama

RADAR CHECK: Just a few sprinkles and patches of light rain across Alabama this afternoon. The sky is mostly cloudy.

Temperatures have pushed into the 70s in a few spots; Tuscaloosa is a warm 74 degrees this afternoon.

TOMORROW THROUGH THE WEEKEND: A strong upper ridge will build across the Southeast, meaning warm and mostly dry weather on these four days. A few showers are possible tomorrow and Friday across the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama, but the rest of the state should be rain-free. The high tomorrow and Friday should be in the 70- to 73-degree range for most, with 72- to 75-degree readings this weekend. These values are not too far from record values; the record high for Saturday (Jan. 14) is 78, set in 1932.

FYI, we have seen 80-degree warmth in January in Alabama. The warmest temperature on record for the month is 81 degrees, measured in Birmingham on Jan. 10, 1949.

ICE FOR THE NATION’S MIDSECTION: While we enjoy the warmth, very cold air is over the northern U.S., and that could set the stage for some nasty icing conditions from the Texas Panhandle to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore by Friday and Saturday.

NEXT WEEK: A storm system lifting out of the Southwest will bring rain back to Alabama by Wednesday; for now, it looks like about one-half to 1 inch, with little if any risk of severe storms.

Long-range data from the Climate Forecast System model hints cold air returns to Alabama around the last week of the month.

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