James Spann: Huge weather change this weekend for Alabama

James Spann: Chance of hail, strong winds in Alabama the next couple of days from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

ANOTHER SUMMER-LIKE DAY: With a partly sunny sky, temperatures should soar back into the mid 80s across Alabama this afternoon. Birmingham actually tied its record high yesterday with 88; the last time it was that warm on April 20 was in 2002.

While most of the state will be dry today (for Birmingham, today will be the 17th consecutive day without measurable rain), a few scattered storms are possible over far North Alabama this afternoon and tonight as a surface front drifts southward through Tennessee. The Storm Prediction Center has defined a “marginal risk” of severe storms for the northern quarter of the state.

A few storms near the Tennessee border could produce small hail and strong, gusty winds this afternoon and early tonight.

WEEKEND THUNDERSTORMS: We have many outdoor events going on this weekend; the good news is that a pretty good part of the day tomorrow will be dry and warm; with a mix of sun and clouds, we rise into the low 80s tomorrow afternoon. But we will need to mention a passing thunderstorm late tomorrow and tomorrow night as a sharp cold front pushes through the state.

The SPC has parts of North and Central Alabama in a “marginal risk,” basically for areas north of a line from Thomasville to Clanton to Piedmont.

TIMING: The main window for stronger storms tomorrow will come from roughly 4 p.m. through 10 p.m. Storms will enter northwest Alabama in the 3-4 p.m. time frame and will push southeast through the evening.

THREATS: Severe weather parameters are less than impressive, with rather weak wind fields and marginal shear and instability values forecast. Some of the heavier storms could produce small hail and strong, gusty winds. For now the tornado threat looks very, very low.

RAIN: Unfortunately it now looks like rain amounts will be under one-half inch for most of the state. No worries with flooding.

MUCH COOLER SUNDAY: We will struggle to get out of the 50s Sunday with lingering clouds and a cool breeze. We will need to include the chance of some lingering light rain, especially during the morning. It will be a huge change from the recent warm, dry weather.

NEXT WEEK: Monday morning will be cool, with the low in the mid to upper 40s; we warm into the low 70s Monday afternoon with a good supply of sunshine. The rest of the week will be dry with a warming trend; highs go back into the low to mid 80s Tuesday through Friday.

Seems like the next chance of rain and storms will come around Sunday, April 30.

HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX WEEKEND BEGINS TODAY: Make plans for the event at the Barber Motorsports Park 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. Today and tomorrow will be warm and dry; a few storms arrive tomorrow night. Sunday will be cloudy and much cooler with a chance of some light rain, mainly during the 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; there is some risk of a shower during the second half, but a decent chance the heavier storms arrive after the game is over. 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 9 p.m. While a thunderstorm is possible tomorrow night, severe storms are not expected in Lee County.

PRE-SEASON TROPICAL STORM: The subtropical depression over the North Central Atlantic acquired tropical characteristics yesterday morning and strengthened enough to become a tropical storm and to get a name. The first name on this year’s list of named storms in the Atlantic is … Arlene. It is west of the Azores, and no threat to land. It will become absorbed by a large nontropical low within 24 hours.

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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