James Spann: Summer-like weather again today in Alabama

James Spann: Warm, muggy day ahead for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

WARM APRIL WEATHER: The average high for Birmingham today (April 20) is 75. We expect to beat that by about 10 degrees today as temperatures return to the mid 80s this afternoon. Today’s record high is 88, set in 2002; we probably won’t get that warm. And, like yesterday, we expect a few random, widely scattered showers and storms this afternoon and into the evening. The chance of any one spot getting wet is only about 1 in 8.

Birmingham has now gone 15 consecutive days without measurable rain, rather unusual for April.

TOMORROW: The weather won’t be all that much different, although we do expect an increase in the number of scattered showers and storms late tomorrow into tomorrow night over the northern third of the state, thanks to an approaching surface front. The Storm Prediction Center has far North Alabama in a “marginal risk” of severe storms; some small hail and gusty winds are possible tomorrow evening over the Tennessee Valley. Otherwise, tomorrow will feature a mix of sun and clouds with a high in the mid 80s again.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A surface low will form on the front just north of the state, and it should be near Memphis at midday Saturday. A warm, moist airmass will remain over Alabama, and we expect a round of showers and strong storms from mid to late afternoon into Saturday night. The SPC has a “marginal risk” of severe storms defined for about the northern two-thirds of the state.

Generally speaking, the severe weather parameters are not impressive for late April. Wind fields, instability and shear will support strong, possibly severe storms, but, as SPC indicates, it is just a “marginal” threat.

TIMING: The main window for stronger storms will come from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday. A few scattered showers are possible earlier in the day, but nothing heavy or widespread.

THREATS: Heavier storms late Saturday afternoon and into the evening could produce some small hail and strong, gusty winds. The tornado threat is very low.

RAIN: Rain amounts should be in the one-half-inch to 1-inch range; flooding is not expected.

Sunday will be much cooler; any lingering light rain will end during the morning. We don’t get past the mid 60s, and some communities over far North Alabama could hold in the 50s all day.

NEXT WEEK: Monday morning will be cool with temperatures reaching the upper 40s, but we warm into the mid 70s Monday afternoon with a good supply of sunshine. The rest of the week looks dry with a warming trend; temperatures return to the 80s by Wednesday. Seems like the next chance of rain and storms will be at some point over the following weekend, April 29-30. It’s too early to know whether severe storms will be an issue.

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. The main chance of rain and storms will come Saturday night; some lingering light rain is possible 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. The latest model data suggests there is a reasonable chance that most of the rain and storms will arrive after 4 p.m., meaning a pretty good chance most of the game will be played with dry conditions. 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.

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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