James Spann: More summer storms fire up later today in Alabama

UNSETTLED SUMMER WEATHER: An upper low is centered just northwest of Alabama, and that feature will aid in the development of showers and thunderstorms later today and tonight across the state. Like recent days, the storms could be strong, and the Storm Prediction Center has the northern half of the state in a “marginal risk” of severe weather. The main threats are wet microbursts (small-scale areas of damaging straight-line wind) and lightning, which can be almost nonstop in the stronger afternoon storms.

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The chance of any one spot getting wet today is about 50/50. I usually have dozens of people ask if their neighborhood or community will see rain. I answer the same thing every time: Summer storms are totally random and scattered, and there is no way of knowing in advance where and when they pop up on summer afternoons in Alabama. Like yesterday, some will see heavy rain today, others nothing. This morning, no meteorologist, TV station or computer model knows where it will rain at any specific time or place this afternoon.

The high today will be in the 88- to 92-degree range for most communities.

REST OF THE WEEK: Not much change, but the upper low will slowly open up and dissipate, and showers and storms will thin out a bit later this week. Heat levels rise a bit, with low to mid 90s by Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It’s the standard July forecast: partly sunny, hot and humid, with “scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms.”

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A persistence forecast is best. No change in the summer pattern. Hot, humid days, a partly sunny sky and a passing shower or storm each afternoon in scattered spots. Highs 92-95.

NEXT WEEK: The GFS keeps advertising a big upper high building over the region, which could mean heat levels rising and rain chances lowering. But the European isn’t as bullish, and keeps us in the same type pattern with scattered afternoon storms.

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TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains very quiet thanks to dry air, and tropical storm development is not expected this week.

AT THE BEACH: Very classic summer pattern from Panama City Beach over to Gulf Shores. About seven to nine hours of sunshine daily with the risk of a passing shower or storm from time to time. Highs 87-90 on the immediate coast, with low to mid 90s inland. The sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 87 degrees. See a detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

WEATHER BRAINS: 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 meteorologists at ABC 33/40. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30 CT. You can watch it live here.

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