James Spann: Big wetdown ahead for Alabama

RADAR CHECK: Rain is falling across much of southwest Alabama this afternoon as deeper moisture associated with Tropical Storm Harvey moves in. Rain will expand northward and will cover much of Alabama late tonight and tomorrow as Harvey moves slowly northeast.

For now, only three counties in Alabama are under a flash flood watch: Washington, Mobile and Baldwin. It is likely one will be needed for counties to the north at some point tomorrow or Thursday.

A GOOD SOAKING: Widespread rain is likely across all of our state tomorrow, Thursday and Friday with rain amounts of 2 to 4 inches possible for the northern half of the state and 5 to 10 inches possible near the Gulf Coast.

In addition to the threat of heavy rain, we have a low-end tornado threat tomorrow through Friday, especially over the western half of the state. A few rotating thunderstorms are possible in the spiral bands rotating around Harvey; an isolated tornado or two is certainly possible. Tornadoes in situations like this tend to be short-lived, making it very hard to provide timely warnings.

Just be aware of the possibility and we will keep a close eye on radar.

LABOR DAY WEEKEND: The reliable European global model continues to suggest dry air will surge into Alabama and much of the Deep South Saturday, setting up some pretty decent weather for much of the holiday weekend. We will now forecast a partly to mostly sunny sky for the northern half of Alabama Saturday, Sunday and Monday with highs in the mid 80s. The chance of a shower looks very, very low.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: There is a chance the rain will be over by the high school games Friday night, but no guarantee. We will have better clarity tomorrow. Temperatures will be in the 70s for the games.

Alabama travels to Atlanta to take on Florida State Saturday (7 p.m. Central kickoff on ABC 33/40); the game will be played in the new Mercedes-Benz stadium indoors. Outside, it now looks like the weather will be dry Saturday and Saturday night. Temperatures will reach the low to mid 80s in Atlanta Saturday afternoon.

Auburn will host Georgia Southern Saturday evening at Jordan-Hare Stadium (6:30 p.m. kickoff). We now project a mostly fair sky. The kickoff temperature will be near 80 degrees, falling into the mid 70s by the final whistle.

UAB will host Alabama A&M Saturday afternoon at Legion Field (2:30 p.m. kickoff on WABM, MY68). With a partly to mostly sunny sky, temperatures will be around 85 degrees at kickoff, falling to near 80 by the end of the game.

BEACH FORECAST: For now, the weather looks nice Saturday and Sunday, with ample sunshine from Gulf Shores over to Panama City Beach and only a slight chance of a shower. For Monday, a few scattered showers and storms are possible with a mix of sun and clouds. Highs will be in the 80s.

HARVEY: Tropical Storm Harvey will make its second landfall on the Louisiana coast south of Lake Charles tomorrow; the circulation will then move up through north Mississippi and Tennessee and wind up in West Virginia by Sunday morning. This track will set up the wet period for Alabama tomorrow through Friday.

PTCT: “Potential Tropical Cyclone Ten” has not developed; one way or another, this system will move across the North Carolina Outer Banks tonight, and then kick out into the open Atlantic.

INVEST 93L: A disturbance in the eastern Atlantic has a good chance of slow development in coming days; it’s way too early to know the final destination. Global models suggest this will be north of Puerto Rico/Hispaniola in seven days or so.

We also note the European model develops some kind of tropical low in the western Gulf of Mexico next week — just an idea, not a forecast for now.

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