James Spann: Wet weather for Alabama tonight, tomorrow; much colder Friday

THIS AFTERNOON: High cirrus clouds are advancing rapidly into Alabama this afternoon ahead of rain and storms west of the state. Temperatures are in the low 80s in most places.

TONIGHT/TOMORROW: We expect a large mass of rain over North and Central Alabama tonight. The rain should enter the far western counties of the state between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., reaching Birmingham 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Anniston/Gadsden 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. A soaking rain is likely overnight with some thunder, but no severe weather is expected across the northern half of the state.

There is a risk of severe storms over far southwest Alabama.

Storms moving through places like Mobile and Gulf Shores overnight could produce strong, possibly damaging winds. Heavy rain is also likely; a flash flood watch is in effect tonight for southwest Alabama.

We expect a break in the rain across the state tomorrow morning, but more showers and thunderstorms will form by midday as a cold front pushes into the state. A few heavy storms are possible tomorrow afternoon over east Alabama ahead of the front, but, with very limited instability, severe weather looks unlikely.

Tomorrow will be a very windy day with strong pressure gradient setting up; the National Weather Service in Birmingham has issued a wind advisory for west winds averaging 15 to 25 mph with higher gusts. Temperatures will hold in the 60s most of the day. Rain amounts across north and central Alabama over the next 36 hours should be in the 1- to 1.5-inch range.

RAW, COLD DAY FRIDAY: The weather Friday will be more like January. Clouds linger across the state thanks to moisture wrapping around the back side of the departing storm system, and temperatures won’t get out of the 50s, with a strong west wind of 15 to 25 mph making it feel colder. And we will need to mention periods of light rain as well.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: After a rather chilly morning early Saturday, with temperatures well down in the 40s, we expect sunshine in full supply both days with a warming trend. We rise into the low 70s Saturday, followed by upper 70s Sunday. The humidity will be low.

RACE WEEKEND AT TALLADEGA: Friday will be windy and cold for early May, with overcast conditions; a few periods of light rain are likely. Afternoon temperatures will be only in the low to mid 50s. Then, we get bright, sunny weather Saturday and Sunday, with a warming trend; the high Saturday will be near 72, followed by 78 on Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: We stay dry during the first half of the week, with highs in the low 80s; the next chance of rain and storms will come at the end of the week on Friday, May 12.

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