James Spann: Subfreezing temperatures in Alabama by Sunday morning

RECORD WARMTH: Temperatures are very close to 80 degrees over most of Alabama this afternoon. We have a new record high at Birmingham; the high so far today is 81, easily beating the old record of 78 set in 1930. The sky is partly to mostly sunny, and there is no rain on radar.

TO THE NORTH: A major storm system is bringing blizzard conditions to parts of Iowa and Minnesota, and south and east of the surface low severe storms are beginning to break out; a severe thunderstorm watch is up for parts of Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The Storm Prediction Center maintains an “enhanced risk” of severe storms for that area tonight.

A “marginal risk” extends down into the northeast corner of Alabama; a line of showers and storms will move through the state between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Some of the storms over Northeast Alabama could produce small hail and gusty winds, but the overall risk of severe weather for most of the state is low, with  little instability, weak wind fields and the main dynamic forcing well to the north.

COOL CHANGE FOR THE WEEKEND: Tomorrow will be a sunny day, but the weather will be breezy and much cooler, with a high only in the upper 50s, more than 20 degrees colder than today. We drop into the 28- to 32-degree range early Sunday morning; cold spots across North Alabama will see low to mid 20s. Then, Sunday will be another sunny and cool day with a high close to 60 degrees.

NEXT WEEK: A warm front will begin to push northward across Alabama Monday, and we will forecast a cloudy day with periods of rain. The warm front will be north of the state by Monday night, and showers and a few thunderstorms are likely Tuesday and Wednesday. A few strong storms are possible on these days, but for the moment the overall severe weather setup is not that impressive. We should see beneficial rain Monday through Wednesday, with amounts of 1 to 2 inches likely.

More cool air moves into the state later in the week; some spots could be close to freezing by early Friday morning, March 3.

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