James Spann: Scattered showers/storms in Alabama later today

James Spann: Alabama stays warm this week, cools off next weekend from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

A CHANCE OF RAIN RETURNS: Based on data from the Birmingham Airport, yesterday was the 12th consecutive day without measurable rain; the last rain was back on April 3, when we were soaked with 3.18 inches. The dry spell should come to an end for many places later today and tonight as showers and thunderstorms begin to form in the moist air over Alabama.

It won’t rain everywhere, however; this will be more like a summer afternoon setup with the showers and storms random and scattered. The chance of any one spot getting wet later today and tonight is about one in three; otherwise the sky will be occasionally cloudy with a high around 80 degrees.

REST OF THE WEEK: We will hang on to some risk of scattered showers and storms tomorrow and Wednesday, but they should be fewer in number as the upper ridge begins to build again. These two days will feature a mix of sun and clouds with a high between 80 and 84.

For now, Thursday looks warm and mostly dry with a high in the mid 80s, and on Friday we will being back some risk of showers, but they should be widely spaced.

WEEKEND STORM SYSTEM: The upper ridge breaks down, and a rather dynamic storm system will move into Alabama over the weekend. There will be enough instability and shear for a few strong, possibly severe storms, but it is way too early to be specific. Timing is another issue; while the chance of rain and storms is high, there are differences between the global models.

For now, we will mention a good chance of rain and storms in the window from 3 p.m. Saturday through noon Sunday. We should be able to narrow this down more in coming days as we get better clarity. Rain amounts around 1 inch are likely, with potentially heavier amounts in a few spots. The high Saturday will be in the 77- to 80-degree range, and close to 70 Sunday as much cooler air filters into the state.

NEXT WEEK: For now, Monday and Tuesday are looking cool and dry; then we expect a warming trend with another chance of rain toward the end of the week.

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN! The Honda Indy Grand Prix will be April 21-23 at the beautiful Barber Motorsports Park. Make plans for the event that has been voted “Best Annual Event” & “Best Sporting Event” in Birmingham. Kids 15 & younger are admitted free with a ticketed adult, and three-day general admission tickets are $69. Single-day tickets are $15. Pack a picnic cooler and bring the family out for a weekend full of activities and racing. Get tickets and more information here. For now it looks like the best chance of rain and storms at Barber Motorsports Park will come late Saturday, Saturday night and possibly early Sunday. Get the detailed race forecast here.

Click here to see the Beach Forecast Center page.

STORM SPOTTER TRAINING IN JASPER THURSDAY: The last spotter training event of the year will be held in Jasper Thursday; we will be at the Jasper Civic Center, and the session begins at 6:30. It is free, and there is no need to register. Just come with a curious mind.

WEATHER BRAINS: You can listen to our weekly 90-minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including meteorologists at ABC 33/40.

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