James Spann: Only isolated showers in Alabama this afternoon

SOLAR ECLIPSE DAY IS HERE: The much-discussed, long-awaited solar eclipse takes place today across the continental United States. I advise seeing this NASA site for real answers to your questions. Please understand the sun today will be no different than the sun yesterday. It will just be blocked by the moon for a while.

For the northern half of Alabama, the eclipse runs from noon to 3 p.m., with the peak coming around 1:30, when 90 to 97 percent of the sun will be covered.

Permanent damage to the retina has been shown to occur in about 100 seconds if you stare into the sun on any day, and the same is true today. If you want to see the eclipse directly, you need ISO or CE approved glasses, or welders glass of shade 12 or higher. There are many “indirect” ways listed on the NASA site as well. Your expensive sunglasses do NOT offer protection.

If you don’t have any interest in the eclipse, go about your usual routine. Your pets will be fine. Your toilets will flush, and smartphones will work just fine. ABC 33/40 will provide live coverage of the eclipse from noon to 3 p.m., and it will be streamed on our apps and on Facebook live.

WEATHER FOR THE ECLIPSE: We will have a field of scattered to broken cumulus clouds, and maybe even a few isolated showers from noon to 3 p.m. today, which will allow you to see most of the eclipse. Here is the cloud cover forecast for the entire continental United States today from the National Weather Service.

It will be seasonally hot today with a high between 91 and 94 degrees for most places.

REST OF THE WEEK: Scattered showers and storms will be a little more numerous tomorrow, but it looks like Wednesday will be the day with the highest coverage as the upper ridge weakens and a surface front approaches from the north. On Thursday and Friday, the best coverage of showers will shift down into the southern counties of the state as drier air slips into north Alabama. Temperatures will trend downward over the latter half of the week, with highs back in the 80s Thursday and Friday.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: We will forecast a mix of sun and clouds Saturday and Sunday with potential for scattered showers and storms both days, most likely during the afternoon and evening hours. Highs will be in the mid 80s.

NEXT WEEK: Not much change; there will be some risk of scattered showers and storms daily with partly sunny days and mostly fair nights. The Global Forecast System ensemble suggests temperatures will be pretty pleasant for late August.

TROPICS: Over the weekend Tropical Storm Harvey degenerated into an open wave in the Caribbean, but there is a good chance it develops into a tropical storm again over the next few days. It will cross the Yucatan Peninsula and emerge into the far southwest Gulf of Mexico, possibly headed for the southern tip of Texas late this week. The main impact will be heavy rain.

Another wave (Invest 92L) is near the Bahamas; it could become a little better organized in coming days with potential to bring heavy rain to parts of central and south Florida (not the panhandle). It will ultimately recurve into the open Atlantic.

A third wave is northeast of the Leeward Islands and is not expected to develop.

BEACH FORECAST: Click here to see the AlabamaWx 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. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30. You can watch it live here.

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For more weather news and information, visit AlabamaWx.

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