James Spann: Changes ahead for Alabama following spring-like afternoon

SPRING FEVER: Temperatures have blown past the forecast highs today, and most places are in the low to mid 70s this afternoon, 15-20 degrees above average for the last day of January in Alabama. The sky is sunny, and we have no rain anywhere near our state.

TONIGHT: Look to the west immediately after sunset and you will be wowed by the show that the moon, Venus and Mars will be putting on for your viewing pleasure. According to WeatherBrains’ resident astronomer Tony Rice (@RTPHokie), the trio will form a nearly right triangle in the western sky this evening. The sky will be crystal clear. Go to AlabamaWX and scroll down for a full post about this.

REST OF THE WEEK: Tomorrow will be another dry and very mild day, but clouds will begin to increase ahead of a cold front approaching from the north. The high tomorrow will be in the upper 60s, not quite as warm as today. Then, look for a cooling trend Thursday and Friday; both days will be mostly cloudy with a few periods of light rain likely as the surface front drifts slowly southward through Central Alabama. The high Thursday will be close to 60, then dropping into the mid 50s Friday. Some places over far North Alabama could hold in the chilly 40s all day Friday.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: For now, Saturday still looks cool and dry, with a partly sunny sky and a high in the 50s. Then, on Sunday, we will mention a chance of rain during the day with an upper trough approaching. the best chance of rain will be over the northern half of the state, and amounts should be generally under 1 inch. Otherwise, Sunday will be mostly cloudy and mild, with a high in the 60s.

NEXT WEEK: Looks like an active pattern, and getting the timing down far in advance will be difficult. For now Monday and Tuesday look like mostly cloudy and mild days with only widely scattered showers; highs will be close to 70 degrees. Then, a cold front with good upper support will bring rain and storms to the state late Wednesday, Wednesday night and Thursday. There could be a few strong storms involved, but for now the overall severe weather threat looks low. Much colder air will follow the front by Friday, with highs potentially dropping into the 40s with a brisk north wind.

As always, watch me for the full weather story on ABC 33/40 News this evening at 4, 5, 6 and 10.

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. You can watch it live here.

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