James Spann: Warm, dry pattern for Alabama through the weekend

James Spann: Alabama highs stay in the 80s through Easter from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

UPPER RIDGE BUILDS: The primary storm track that pushes mid-latitude waves across North America is now well to the north of here, and with an upper ridge building, that will mean warm, mostly dry weather for Alabama through the Easter weekend: partly to mostly sunny days and fair, pleasant nights. Afternoon highs will be in the 81- to 85-degree range, morning lows in the upper 50s and low 60s. Average highs around here in mid April are in the mid 70s; we will stay well above those levels through much of next week.

We might consider the risk of a few isolated showers late in the Easter weekend with a slight increase in moisture, but for now we won’t mention it with the ridge holding strong.

NEXT WEEK: A surface front will drop southward through Tennessee, and that will bring the chance of a few scattered showers to the northern third of the state Monday and possibly Tuesday, but again rain amounts will be light, and the front dissipates by midweek. The Global Forecast System hints a more significant cold front will arrive around Saturday, April 22, with a better chance of rain, but that is in the land of voodoo and could easily change.

Click here to see the Beach Forecast Center page.

ON THIS DATE IN 1979: A storm system approaching Alabama in the middle of April 1979 brought extreme rainfall; 4 to 8 inches of rain were common in north Alabama, with totals as high as 10 to 15 inches in the western counties. Record or near-record crests occurred along much of the Tombigbee, Black Warrior and Sucarnoochee Rivers with severe residential and commercial flooding in areas such as Tuscaloosa, Demopolis, Gainesville and Livingston. Thousands of acres of farm lands, woodlands and pasture lands were flooded, as well as numerous camps and cabins along these rivers. The Tombigbee River at Demopolis crested April 18, at 37.03 feet, more than 24 feet above flood stage and 1.3 feet above the previous record, established in 1961.

Widespread significant, but less severe, flooding occurred on many other rivers, including the Alabama, Coosa, Tallapoosa and Cahaba Rivers, with some residential flooding occurring in the vicinities of Montgomery, Gadsden and the Tallapoosa Water Plant. When all the floodwaters had receded, damage was estimated at $75 million with at least 15 deaths in the state.

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