James Spann: A few weekend storms, then cooler weather hits Alabama Sunday

RADAR CHECK: As expected, most of Alabama is rain-free this afternoon. We have just a few isolated showers over the far eastern counties of the state. With a partly sunny day, temperatures have warmed into the mid 80s again.

The weather won’t change much tomorrow — warm and generally dry, although a few scattered showers and storms could fire late in the day. The best chance of storms tomorrow evening will be over far North Alabama, near the Tennessee border, where the Storm Prediction Center has defined a “marginal risk” of severe storms. The high tomorrow will be right back in the mid 80s.

THE WEEKEND: A surface low will move along the front north of Alabama; it should be near Nashville by Saturday evening. Showers and storms should form along the trailing cold front, moving through Alabama during the afternoon and evening. The SPC has a “marginal” severe weather risk defined for about the northern two-thirds of the state.

The new model set shows a setup less than impressive for severe storms in Alabama; wind fields are relatively weak, and instability and shear values are marginal. The good news is that the overall severe weather threat looks pretty low, but the bad news is that the expected rain amounts will need to come down. Keep in mind today is the 16th consecutive day without measurable rain for Birmingham.

TIMING: The main window for stronger storms will come from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday.

THREATS: Heavier storms could produce small hail and gusty winds. The tornado risk is very low.

RAIN: Based on new model data, it now looks like most places will see one-half inch or less.

But this is late April, and you have to watch any setup like this closely. Model guidance is just that, and sometimes storms don’t behave according to plan.

Sunday will be breezy and much cooler, with some risk of a little light rain during the morning. We won’t get out of the 60s, and some far North Alabama communities could hold in the 50s all day. Some slow afternoon clearing is possible.

NEXT WEEK: Monday morning will be cool for late April, with temperatures dropping into the upper 40s; the day Monday will be bright and sunny with a high in the 70s. The rest of the week looks dry with a warming trend; afternoon temperatures return to the 80s Wednesday through Friday. The Global Forecast System is advertising a strong system due in here late in the following weekend (around Sunday, April 30) that could bring active thunderstorms back to the state.

DROUGHT MONITOR: The new Drought Monitor released this morning shows drought conditions starting to increase again across our state because of the lack of widespread rain over the past two weeks.

STORM SPOTTER TRAINING IN JASPER THIS EVENING: The last spotter training event of the year will be held in Jasper this evening; 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.

HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX BEGINS TOMORROW: It starts Friday at the beautiful Barber Motorsports Park. Make plans for the event that has been voted “Best Annual Event” and “Best Sporting Event” in Birmingham. Kids 15 and 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. Looks like the best chance of showers and storms will come from about 4 p.m. through 9 p.m., with maybe a touch of light rain Sunday morning. Get the detailed race forecast here.

ALABAMA A DAY: The annual spring game kicks off at 2 Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. There’s a good chance conditions will be dry at the beginning of the game, but there is a chance of showers, and possibly a thunderstorm, during the second half. The temperature will be near 80 degrees at kickoff. I will be doing “Drive Home Weather” on the big screens with former Tide star Andre Smith (now with the Cincinnati Bengals). Come see us in the fan zone at the KS Services booth from 11 a.m. until noon.

MUSIC AND MIRACLES SUPERFEST: The Music and Miracles Superfest will be held at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday starting at 3 p.m.; the best chance of rain there will come after 8 p.m. While a thunderstorm is possible Saturday night, the severe weather risk in Lee County is pretty low.

Click here to see the Beach Forecast Center page.

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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For more weather news and information, visit AlabamaWX.


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