James Spann: Good ol’ summertime weather for Alabama

James Spann: Chances of showers, storms increase for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

SUN, HEAT, STORMS: We are getting into the dog days of summer, a time of the year when the weather forecast doesn’t change much. You are pretty much guaranteed the weather will be hot and humid, and we will be dodging random, scattered storms during the peak of the heat each afternoon and evening. See this essay I wrote about forecasting summer weather in Alabama.

We will maintain the classic summer forecast today through the weekend. Most of the sun will come during the morning and early afternoon, and most of the showers and storms will come between 1 and 8 p.m. Winds aloft are light, and like yesterday, storms won’t move much and some spots could see heavy rain. Our Skywatcher in Mountain Brook reported 2.44 inches yesterday, with flooding around “the Brook” and Cahaba Heights. Other parts of the Birmingham metro didn’t receive a drop.

The chance of any one spot getting wet each afternoon will be in the 30 to 50 percent category. While organized severe weather isn’t expected, keep in mind summer storms can, on occasion, produce “wet microbursts,” localized areas of strong straight-line winds than can knock down trees and power lines.

The most dangerous element with summer storms, by far, is lightning. If there is lightning within eight miles, all outdoor events need to stop and everyone goes inside. And if you don’t have a reliable real-time lightning app, the rule is simple. When you hear thunder, go inside.

Afternoon highs will be mostly in the low 90s, right at seasonal averages. The peak of the summer heat here comes from late July though mid-August.

NEXT WEEK: Not much change, although the Global Forecast System hints the upper ridge could strengthen during the latter half of the week. With the warmer air aloft, that could mean fewer afternoon storms and higher heat levels.

TROPICS: All remains quiet across the Atlantic basin, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend.

BEACH FORECAST: Click here to see the AlabamaWx Beach Forecast Center page.

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