James Spann: Sunny day for Alabama; rain returns Wednesday

James Spann: Beautiful day for Alabama before rain returns from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

BEAUTIFUL DAY: Dry air has settled into Alabama; we are forecasting sunshine in full supply today. Temperatures are mostly in the 38- to 45-degree range early this morning, but we will see a high close to 70 degrees this afternoon. The dry weather won’t last long as clouds and moisture will return tonight, and some rain is likely after midnight.

TOMORROW/THURSDAY: As a warm front lifts northward, we expect occasional showers tomorrow along with potential for a thunderstorm or two over the northern half of the state. The rain could be heavy at times across the Tennessee Valley, and National Weather Service Huntsville has issued a flood watch for the counties there.

Rain amounts by Thursday afternoon are expected to be in the 2- to 4-inch range for the northern quarter of the state, with potential for some flooding issues, including river flooding. Rain amounts for places like Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston and Gadsden should be in the 1- to 2-inch range.

Rain and storms will continue tomorrow night into Thursday as a cold front approaches; the Storm Prediction Center has a risk of severe weather defined for areas west of Alabama, but for now no part of our state is in any risk category because of the lack of surface-based instability.

Rain will end from west to east late Thursday as cooler, drier air returns.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: These three days will be rain-free with sunny, pleasant afternoons and clear, chilly nights. The high Friday will be close to 60 degrees, and by early Saturday morning we project a low in the 32- to 38-degree range for most places; colder pockets will see a light freeze, and frost is a good possibility elsewhere. Saturday’s high will be in the mid 60s, followed by upper 60s Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: Clouds begin to return Monday, and we will bring in a chance of rain Monday night and Tuesday ahead of the next cold front. Some thunder will be possible, but for now it doesn’t look like a setup for severe thunderstorms. Colder air invades the state late in the week, and I would not be surprised if we see a freeze by Thursday or Friday morning, March 8-9.

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