James Spann: Clouds return to Alabama tonight; rain, storms on Wednesday

DELIGHTFUL AFTERNOON: As expected, this has been a delightful late winter day across Alabama. With sunshine in full supply, most communities are somewhere between 67 and 71 degrees this afternoon. Clouds increase tonight, however, as a front down south begins to move northward as a warm front, and some rain is possible after midnight.

TOMORROW/THURSDAY: Expect occasional showers and thunderstorms both days as a very moist air mass moves up into the state. The heaviest rain will come over the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama, where 2 to 4 inches are possible. A flood watch is in effect there.

Amounts for Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston and Gadsden should be in the 1- to 2-inch range, with lighter amounts for the southern half of the state. There is a risk of severe storms tomorrow and tomorrow night west of Alabama.

But for now there is no risk for any part of Alabama, as there will be little to no surface-based instability available. Rain will end from west to east late Thursday and Thursday night as a cold front sweeps through.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Friday will be mostly sunny, breezy and cool with a high close to 60 degrees. The coldest morning will come early Saturday; the latest Global Forecast System is printing a low of 33 for Birmingham. Colder places will see a freeze, and most other areas across north and central Alabama will have frost. Sunny weather will continue Saturday and Sunday with a high in the mid 60s Saturday, followed by upper 60s Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: The day Monday should be dry, but showers and possibly a thunderstorm or two are likely by Monday night and Tuesday as another cold front approaches. It doesn’t look like a setup for severe weather, and colder, drier air will return for the latter half of the week. With a deep upper trough setting up over the eastern third of the nation, there’s a good chance we will have another morning or two with a freeze — most likely March 8 or 9.

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