James Spann: Warm January weekend ahead for Alabama

James Spann: Alabama temperatures 20 degrees above average for January from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

UPPER HIGH BUILDS: A strong ridge in the upper atmosphere will continue to build across the Southeast in coming days, producing warm afternoons for January and keeping the cold and ice issues north of our region.

We will forecast a mix of sun and clouds today, tomorrow and Sunday with afternoon highs in the 71- to 75-degree range, just under record levels for mid-January. Here are the record highs for Birmingham:

  • Today (Jan. 13) — 77 (1932)
  • Jan. 14 — 78 (1932)
  • Jan. 15 — 78 (1947)
  • Jan. 16 — 77 (1943)
  • Jan. 17 — 79 (1943)
  • Jan. 18 — 76 (1929)

A far cry from the snow and ice issues we had a week ago; keep in mind it was as cold as 7 degrees in Alabama this past Saturday. This is a state where it never “gets cold and stays cold.” Examples:

  • Birmingham’s coldest temperature on record came on Feb. 13, 1899, when the temperature dropped to 10 degrees below zero. But only eight days later, on Feb. 21, the high zoomed to 70 degrees.
  • In 1982, the low at Birmingham was -1 on Jan. 11, with a crippling ice storm to follow in the days ahead. But just eight days later, on Jan. 19, the high was a balmy 76 degrees.

The warmest January temperature on record in Birmingham is 81 degrees, measured on Jan. 10, 1949.

ICE ICE BABY: For travelers we should mention ice storm warnings are up for parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois as freezing rain in very cold air has potential to bring very significant ice accumulations.

NEXT WEEK: The ridge holds early in the week, and the weather looks mostly dry and warm Monday and Tuesday. The chance of showers and storms will increase by Wednesday and Thursday as the upper high weakens, and there seems to be some chance of strong storms by Thursday or Thursday night. Too early to know if severe storms will be an issue.

There are still signs of cold air returning to the Deep South toward the end of the month.

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