James Spann: Big warm-up for Alabama today before weekend chill

James Spann: Alabama will get unseasonably warm, but not for long from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

ACTIVE WEATHER: The advertised “pattern flip” of mid-November will bring lots of changes and interesting weather to Alabama for the rest of the month. On the positive side, we have three opportunities for rain for our state in the next 10 days.

And, goodness, do we need it. Today is the 60th consecutive day without measurable rain for Birmingham (based on data from the airport, where records are kept). The last measurable rain was on Sept. 18 with 0.32 inches. The last time we had more than 1 inch in a 24-hour period came on July 30, when the total was 1.33 inches.

Since the first of October, a total of 1,721 wildfires have destroyed more than 20,000 acres in Alabama, and a drought emergency continues. No outdoor burning, and we all need to conserve water.

BIG WARM-UP TODAY: We are starting the day in the chilly 30s and 40s across North/Central Alabama, but with an upper ridge, a strong November sun and no soil moisture, temperatures will zoom to near 80 degrees this afternoon. This is very close to the record high for today, 82, set in 1958.

FRIDAY NIGHT FRONT: Tomorrow will be another warm, dry day with a high near 80, but a cold front will push a band of showers into our state tomorrow night; that rain could enter Northwest Alabama sometime between 10 p.m. and midnight. The showers will push on through during the pre-dawn hours Saturday, but with limited moisture and the main dynamic support well to the north, this won’t be a big rain event. Rain amounts will be generally less than one-tenth of an inch, and the southern quarter of Alabama won’t get a drop.

The showers should be out of the state by 6 a.m. Saturday.

CHILLY WEEKEND: The coldest air so far this season blows into Alabama for the weekend. The sky becomes sunny Saturday, but the day will be windy and very cool with a high only in the mid 50s. A northwest wind of 15-25 mph will make it feel colder. We will be very close to freezing early Sunday; then, during the day Sunday, the sky will be sunny with a high in the 50s.

The coldest morning will come early Monday, with a clear sky and light wind; most North/Central Alabama communities will see a low in the 28- to 32-degree range, effectively ending the 2016 growing season.

THANKSGIVING WEEK: Our second opportunity for rain will come right before Thanksgiving; global models advertise a system that will impact Alabama late Wednesday and Wednesday night with a chance of showers. No severe weather, and probably no thunder. Latest guidance suggests about a quarter of an inch of rain with this feature. Again, no drought buster, but it will be good to get a little water in the parched soil.


For now Thanksgiving day looks dry and pleasant, with a high in the 60s.

Our third rain event over the next 10 days, according to the Global Forecast System model, will come on Saturday, Nov. 26, which is Iron Bowl Saturday. Understand this is pure voodoo for now, but the pattern does support it. Timing could and probably will change.

AT THE BEACH: Sunny days, fair nights through the weekend from Gulf Shores to Panama City Beach. Highs in the 70s today and tomorrow, then in the 60s over the weekend. See a detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

TROPICS: The disturbance over the southwest Caribbean is still disorganized, and odds of development are lower now.

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