James Spann: Many weather changes ahead for Alabama

James Spann Alabama NewsCenter Weather Forecast December 16 from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

CHILLY MORNING: We start this day with a clear sky and very cool temperatures; colder pockets are actually down in the mid 30s, with low 40s elsewhere. Clouds will increase today ahead of a big upper trough lifting out of the western U.S., and a few showers could break out this afternoon, especially over West Alabama. Temperatures will rise into the mid 60s.

TONIGHT: Rain and a few thunderstorms are likely statewide. We note that the guys at SPC have pulled the “marginal” severe weather risk up to near I-20…

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But, like the setup this past Sunday night, there is no surface based instability over the northern half of Alabama, and odds of severe weather look very low. Even down in South Alabama, where there is a bit of unstable air, the helicity values are pretty unimpressive.

The bottom line… I don’t expect any severe weather for North Alabama, but a few storms over the southern counties could produce gusty winds; just a small risk of an isolated brief tornado there.

Rain amounts of around 1 inch are likely.

TOMORROW: Rain will end from west to east during the morning hours, and clearing begins during the afternoon. The weather will be cooler; we hold in the 50s all day.

FRIDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND: It will finally feel like Christmas as cold air settles into the Deep South. Sunny days, fair nights. The low Friday morning will be in the mid 30s… and a freeze is likely at daybreak Saturday with upper 20s and low 30s. Expect a high Friday around 50 (some North Alabama communities won’t get out of the 40s), followed by low 50s Saturday, and mid 50s Sunday.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: Jacksonville State will host Sam Houston State in the semifinals of the FCS playoff Saturday at Burgess Snow Stadium (3:00p CT kickoff)… perfect football weather is the story with a clear and cool day. Temperatures will fall from near 50 at kickoff, to about 43 by the final whistle.

CHRISTMAS WEEK: The weather will be warmer and unsettled. Showers are possible Monday as moist air returns, and occasional showers and thunderstorms are a good possibility Tuesday and Wednesday. And, the 06Z run of the GFS is showing a severe weather setup for Alabama late Wednesday night into Thursday (Christmas Eve)…

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Way too early to define the risk; just something to watch since so many people will be traveling. Highs will be generally in the 60s Monday and Tuesday, with low 70s possible Wednesday. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

Dry air should return to the state by Christmas Day; for now Friday December 25 looks mostly sunny with a high in the 60s. Looking for a white Christmas? Snow is most likely across the U.S. west of a line from Green Bay to Albuquerque.

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AT THE BEACH: Showers and a few strong storms are likely on the coast tonight and early tomorrow, then cool and dry weather is the story Friday through the weekend. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here. The Gulf Coast Beach Forecast is presented by Gulf Shores Plantation by Mandoki Hospitality Vacation Rentals. Escape to Gulf Shores Plantation where memories last a lifetime.

ON THIS DATE 15 YEARS AGO: An EF-4 tornado tore through the southern part of the city of Tuscaloosa, killing eleven people, and injuring 144. Nine of the fatalities occurred in mobile homes, one in a vehicle, and one in a commercial building converted to residential use. Six of those killed were females and five were males. Ages ranged from 16 months to 83 years old. The tornado was on the ground for a total of 18 miles, all within Tuscaloosa county. The tornado path was estimated to be 750 yards wide at it’s maximum intensity.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

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