James Spann: Warm, muggy weather for Alabama through the weekend

RADAR CHECK: As expected, showers today are very isolated across north and central Alabama. Most places are very warm and dry, with temperatures in the mid to upper 80s. The few showers we have will dissipate soon after sunset.

TOMORROW THROUGH THE WEEKEND: An upper ridge holds over the eastern half of the nation; expect partly sunny days, fair nights and only isolated afternoon and evening showers and storms. Highs will remain generally in the upper 80s, about 3 to 5 degrees above average for mid to late September in Alabama.

This will be the first weekend of fall; the autumnal equinox is Friday at 3:02 p.m.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For Friday night’s high school games, it will be warm and humid, with temperatures falling from the low 80s at kickoff into the upper 70s by the final whistle. Just a slight risk of a shower during the first quarter.

Alabama will be in Nashville Saturday to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (2:30 p.m. kickoff). The sky will be mostly sunny with a kickoff temperature near 88 degrees, falling into the mid 80s by the fourth quarter. Just a small risk of a brief shower.

Auburn is also on the road, playing Missouri in Columbia Saturday evening (6:30 p.m. kickoff). We expect a clear sky with temperatures falling from 84 degrees at kickoff into the upper 70s by the final whistle.

And UAB is also traveling this weekend, playing North Texas Saturday evening (5:30 p.m. kickoff) in Denton. The weather will be dry with a fair sky; about 90 degrees at kickoff, falling through the 80s during the game.

NEXT WEEK: The warm pattern continues for at least the first half of the week, with only isolated afternoon showers, but we note a major pattern change advertised by both global models (GFS and ECMWF) in 10 days or so. This should bring down some cool, crisp air into the Deep South as October begins.

MARIA MOVING AWAY FROM PUERTO RICO: Maria is now a category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 115 mph; the center has emerged off the coast of Puerto Rico and is back over open water. Maria will gain latitude in coming days, and is expected to move northward, east of the Bahamas, this weekend.

After five days, the forecast confidence drops off. If Tropical Storm Jose (winds 70 mph, 140 miles south/southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts) can leave a weakness in the sub-tropical ridge, it will give Maria an “escape route” and should miss the U.S. East Coast. But if the ridge rebuilds, then there is a chance Maria could bend back toward the East Coast. It is simply too early to call.

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For more weather news and information from James Spann and his weather team, visit Alabama Wx.

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