James Spann: Alabama stays warm, mostly dry today

James Spann: Unseasonably warm weather holds through Friday for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

WARM APRIL WEATHER: An upper ridge will keep the weather warm and generally dry today and tomorrow. Isolated showers could form during the peak of the daytime heating process, but the chance of any one spot getting wet is only about 1 in 10. Expect a mix of sun and clouds, with afternoon temperatures reaching the mid 80s; the average high today for Birmingham is 75.

We should also mention that Birmingham has now gone 14 consecutive days without measurable rain.

We will bring in a better chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms Friday afternoon with the approach of a surface front from the north; Friday’s high will be in the low 80s with increasing clouds.

WEEKEND STORMS: A fairly robust weather system will bring rain and storms to the state over the weekend, and we are getting better clarity about the potential impact. While we can’t rule out a morning shower Saturday, it looks like the main window for heavier storms will come from about 4 p.m. Saturday through 4 a.m. Sunday.

There will be a decent amount of instability and shear with moderate to strong wind fields, meaning there will a risk of strong to severe storms during that window. The Storm Prediction Center has the northwest corner of the state in its severe weather outlook that includes Saturday and Saturday night.

Stronger storms Saturday night could produce hail and strong winds; an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out, but for now shear values look pretty marginal. Rain amounts of one-half inch are likely; no flooding issues are expected.

Before storms arrive Saturday, temperatures will rise into the 78- to 81-degree range with a mostly cloudy sky. Sunday will be breezy and much cooler, with a high only in the 60s. While the rain will end early in the day, clouds will most likely linger through Sunday afternoon.

NEXT WEEK: Monday morning will be cool, with a low in the upper 40s; the rest of the week looks generally dry and pleasant, with a warming trend. We go back into the 80s by Wednesday. The next risk of rain and storms seems to be around April 28-29.

HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX IS THIS WEEKEND: The Honda Indy Grand Prix will be at the beautiful Barber Motorsports Park. Make plans for the event that has been voted “Best Annual Event” and “Best Sporting Event” in Birmingham. Kids 15 and younger are admitted free with a ticketed adult, and three-day general admission tickets are $69. Single-day tickets are $15. Pack a picnic cooler and bring the family out for a weekend full of activities and racing. Get tickets and more information here. Most of the rain and storms over the weekend will come Saturday night; I don’t think it will interfere too much with the races. Get the detailed race forecast here.

ALABAMA A DAY: The annual spring game kicks off at 2 Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The latest model data suggests there is a reasonable chance that most of the rain and storms will arrive after 4 p.m., meaning a fair chance most of the game will be played with dry conditions. The temperature will be near 80 degrees at kickoff. I will be doing “Drive Home Weather” on the big screens with former Tide star Andre Smith (now with the Cincinnati Bengals). Come see us in the fan zone at the KS Services booth from 11 a.m. until noon.

Click here to see the Beach Forecast Center page.

STORM SPOTTER TRAINING IN JASPER TOMORROW EVENING: The last spotter training event of the year will be held in Jasper Thursday; we will be at the Jasper Civic Center, and the session begins at 6:30. It is free, and there is no need to register. Just come with a curious mind.

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.

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For more weather news and information, visit AlabamaWX.

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