James Spann: Fall arrives Friday, but Alabama keeps that summer feeling a little longer

Anyone remember the song by Earth, Wind and Fire?

“Do you remember the
21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing.
As we danced in the night,
Remember how the stars stole the night away?”

When these lyrics come to mind every year, you know fall is here. The autumnal equinox is tomorrow at 3:02 p.m. But we will have to wait a while for a “fall feel” to our weather.

RADAR CHECK: As expected, showers and storms across Alabama today are small and very isolated. They are moving southward and will dissipate once the sun goes down.

Away from the showers, temperatures are mostly in the 87- to 90-degree range, about 5 degrees above average for mid to late September in Alabama.

TOMORROW THROUGH THE WEEKEND: No change, as the upper ridge over the eastern United States holds. Expect partly sunny, very warm days, fair nights and isolated afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. The chance of any one spot getting wet each day is only about 1 in 5. Highs remain mostly in the upper 80s.

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 85 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 AND BEYOND: We will roll with a persistence forecast for much of next week with highs well up in the 80s, but global models continue to advertise a pattern change in about seven or eight days. This will bring a cold front in here toward the end of next week with a chance of showers and storms, followed by much cooler air as October begins.

EYES ON MARIA: Maria remains a category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 120 mph, north of the Dominican Republic. It will move more northward in coming days, passing east of the Bahamas this weekend.

There is a good chance Tropical Storm Jose, still spinning off the New England coast, will leave a weakness in the sub-tropical ridge, allowing Maria an escape path off the East Coast of the U.S. Most global models agree with this scenario, but it is still too early to completely rule out a brush with the U.S. East Coast.

Maria should slowly weaken over the next five days; it should be a category 1 hurricane by early next week between the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Bermuda.

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

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

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