James Spann: Morning sun, scattered afternoon showers for Alabama today

James Spann: Not much change in Alabama weather through the weekend from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

CLASSIC SUMMER WEATHER CONTINUES: We are in that time of the year when our weather doesn’t change much from day to day; the main difference is the timing and placement of afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Things are quiet this morning; temperatures were mostly in the low to mid 70s at daybreak.

Expect a good supply of sunshine this morning, followed by random, scattered showers and storms from about 1 this afternoon through 8 this evening. Sometimes a rogue storm can linger through midnight; we had a couple of them last night north of Birmingham. Remember, summer storms can be taller than 50,000 feet, and you can see the in cloud-lightning from up to 100 miles away. Some people call this “heat lightning,” but there is no such thing since all lightning is created by the same process, a thunderstorm. On summer nights the storm is often so far away you simply can’t hear the thunder.

The high today will be in the low 90s for most communities, right at seasonal averages.

TOMORROW THROUGH THE WEEKEND: No real change. The classic mix of sun, heat and scattered afternoon storms will continue through Sunday. Afternoon storms could be a little more numerous over the weekend with a weak surface front to the north; the chance of any one spot seeing a passing storm Saturday and Sunday will be about 50/50. Highs for the weekend will be in the 88- to 92-degree range.

There is no skill in identifying the exact placement and timing of the afternoon showers and storms in advance; you just have to watch radar trends if you have an outdoor event going. The biggest issue with afternoon storms is lightning. The rule is simple: When you hear thunder, get indoors. “Lightning is frightening.”

NEXT WEEK: Afternoon storms could be fewer in number with slightly drier air, but the overall pattern just won’t change much. It is the middle of summer in Alabama. Hot. Humid. an afternoon storm in spots. Highs in the 90- to 95-degree range.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains very quiet with lots of dry air; tropical storm formation is not expected at least for the next five days.

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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