James Spann: Rain returns to Alabama Friday

SUNNY, WARM AFTERNOON: Temperatures are mostly in the mid 80s across Alabama this afternoon with a strong May sun. Tonight will be clear and pleasant, with a low in the mid 60s early tomorrow.

Summer-like weather continues tomorrow and Thursday with a good supply of sunshine both days, along with highs in the 87- to 90-degree range, thanks to an upper ridge overhead.

RAIN RETURNS FRIDAY: A large-scale upper low, now over the Southwest U.S., will lift out through midweek and bring our next chance of rain Friday. Showers and storms will enter the state during the day, continuing Friday night. The 12Z model set is a tad faster; it seems like the primary window for rain comes from about noon Friday until 3 a.m. Saturday. It won’t rain that entire time, but occasional showers and storms are a good bet.

A few strong thunderstorms will be possible as surface-based CAPE values (instability, or the ability of air parcels to rise freely) will rise to near 2,000 j/kg, but wind fields are not especially strong, and the overall severe weather risk doesn’t look especially high. For now the Storm Prediction Center does not have a severe weather risk defined Friday, although I would not be surprised if they throw up a “marginal risk” at some point. Hail and gusty winds will be the primary threats, and rain amounts should be around one-half inch. A few isolated spots could see up to 1 inch.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Rain should end during the pre-dawn hours Saturday morning. The sky becomes partly to mostly sunny during the day Saturday with highs between 76 and 80 degrees. Then, Sunday will be a delightful day, with ample sunshine and a high in the low 80s.

NEXT WEEK: The week looks pretty quiet with an upper ridge building; that means mostly sunny, warm days and fair, pleasant nights. We might consider mentioning a few scattered showers toward the end of the week as moisture levels rise.

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