James Spann: Alabama gets showers today, stronger storms tonight

James Spann: Stormy tonight, cold tomorrow in Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

RADAR CHECK: Showers formed ahead of schedule across Alabama early this morning; they were moving eastward across the state at daybreak. Today will be cloudy with a warmer afternoon; most communities reach the low 70s later today. We will maintain the chance of showers during the day, but heavier storms will arrive tonight. The Storm Prediction Center maintains a slight risk of severe storms for the western side of the state, in the broad region from Fayette to Citronelle. A marginal risk extends as far east as Steele, Talladega and Troy.

There is very limited surface-based instability available for north Alabama; it sure looks like the core severe threat will be over the southern half of the state.

TIMING: The window for the heavier storms will come from 10 tonight through 7 a.m. tomorrow for central Alabama.

THREATS: The main issue will be strong, gusty straight-line winds. An isolated, short-lived tornado is not out of the question, mainly over southwest Alabama. Some small hail is possible as well in the heavier thunderstorms.

RAIN: Amounts of one-half to 1 inch look likely, not enough for any flooding problems.

The bottom line is that this is a pretty low-end severe weather threat for central Alabama, but, as always with thunderstorms, you have to expect the unexpected, so we will keep a close eye on radar trends overnight.

COLD, RAW DAY TOMORROW: Rain will taper off early tomorrow morning, but the day will be cloudy, windy and cold, with temperatures falling through the 50s and reaching the 40s during the afternoon. The high-resolution North American Mesoscale model even hints some north Alabama communities might be in the 30s.

Some patchy light rain or drizzle is also possible during the day. It sure won’t feel like spring; these temperatures are 30 degrees below average for early April in Alabama.

FREEZE WATCH SUNDAY MORNING: A freeze is a good possibility by daybreak Sunday as the sky becomes clear and the wind drops to near calm. We are expecting lows in the low 30s for most north and central Alabama communities; colder pockets will visit the 20s. Then, during the day Sunday, the sky will be sunny with a high in the mid 60s.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For Auburn’s A-Day game tomorrow at Jordan Hare Stadium (3 p.m. kickoff), the weather will be cloudy, breezy and cold, with temperatures falling from the mid 50s at kickoff into the 40s during the second half. A brisk northwest wind of 10-20 mph will make it feel colder.

NEXT WEEK: Some rain is possible late Monday, Monday night and possibly into part of the day Tuesday, followed by another shot of colder air. Output from global model ensembles continues to suggest we could see some frost early Wednesday morning with a low in the mid 30s; there’s a decent chance this will be the last frost threat of the season for most of the state.

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