James Spann: Hard freeze for Alabama tonight

DRY, COLD WEATHER: Despite sunshine in full supply, temperatures are far below the average high of 53 degrees for Jan. 4. We are seeing mostly 20s over the northern quarter of the state, with low to mid 30s for places like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston and Gadsden. A hard freeze is likely tonight. Both the North American Mesoscale and the Global Forecast System models are printing a low of 14 for Birmingham early tomorrow; colder spots could be closer to 10.

TOMORROW THROUGH THE WEEKEND: Tomorrow and Saturday will be sunny and cold; the high both days should be in the low 40s. Saturday morning will be another very cold one, with lows between 15 and 19 for most north and central Alabama communities. Sunday will be partly sunny with a high between 45 and 48 as the slow warm-up continues. Clouds thicken Sunday night.

NEXT WEEK: Widespread rain returns to Alabama Monday; amounts of one-half to 1 inch are expected as a surface low moves right over the state. No severe weather, and no threat of snow or ice. Tuesday and Wednesday look dry and pleasant, with highs well up in the 50s; we could touch 60 degrees Wednesday afternoon. Moisture returns later in the week; a shower is possible Thursday, with rain more likely by Thursday night and Friday.

NORTHEAST U.S. BLIZZARD: An extremely deep surface low, a classic nor’easter, is off the upper U.S. Atlantic coast this afternoon, bringing blizzard conditions to the coast, including Boston. It is a very photogenic storm, but producing many headaches including coastal flooding, power outages and airport closures. The colder air we will feel tonight is coming down the back side of the circulation.

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