James Spann: Alabama will sleep through the showers, wake up to the chill

RAIN GETTING CLOSER: A strong cold front will push a band of showers, and maybe even a thunderstorm, into far Northwest Alabama tonight. The Storm Prediction Center outlook suggests no severe weather threat, but a chance of some thunder over Northwest Alabama after 9 p.m.

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The band of weakening showers will move across the rest of North/Central Alabama after midnight. We still expect most places to see less than one-tenth of an inch; all it takes is one-hundredth of an inch at the Birmingham Airport to end our string of consecutive dry days at 61.

Showers should be over or out of the state by 6 a.m. Most of you will sleep through the rare rain.

WEEKEND CHILL: The sky becomes sunny tomorrow, but the day will be windy and sharply cooler with a high only in the 50s; a northwest wind of 15-25 mph will make it feel cooler. Then, we drop into the low 30s early Sunday; the North American Mesoscale and the Global Forecast System are printing a low of 31 for Birmingham early Sunday. That will be the first freeze of the season if the forecast verifies.

Sunday will be another sunny and cool day with a high in the 50s, and the coldest morning should be early Monday, when upper 20s are likely. Colder spots will see low to mid 20s, easily our coldest morning so far this season.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the high school football playoff games tonight, rain is possible over the northwest tip of the state. Otherwise, clouds will increase with temperatures in the 60s.

You will need a warm jacket for the college games tomorrow night.

Alabama will host Chattanooga tomorrow night at Bryant-Denny Stadium (6 p.m. kickoff). The sky will be mostly fair with temperatures falling from 52 at kickoff to near 40 degrees by the final whistle.

Auburn hosts Alabama A&M tomorrow night at Jordan-Hare Stadium (6:30 p.m. kickoff). Mostly fair, with temperatures falling from the low 50s at kickoff into the low 40s by the fourth quarter.

NEXT WEEK: We will have a good chance of rain Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night; the latest model guidance suggests rain amounts of one-quarter to one-half inch for most of North and Central Alabama. For now Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday look dry and pleasant, with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s.

Confidence in the forecast for Iron Bowl Saturday remains low. The latest GFS run hints rain could slip into Alabama late in the day or Saturday night, Nov. 26; this will probably change again.

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

TROPICS: The disturbance in the far southwest Caribbean remains disorganized, and the rest of the Atlantic basin remains quiet.

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