James Spann: Rain returns to Alabama this weekend

RADAR CHECK: An approaching cold front is pushing clouds into north Alabama this afternoon, and we have a few sprinkles on radar over the Tennessee Valley. We will maintain the chance of widely scattered showers this evening over the northern quarter of the state; otherwise, it will be dry tonight with mid/high-level clouds.

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: These two days will be dry with a good supply of sunshine, along with highs mostly in the upper 60s. Friday morning will be cold; the latest data suggests temperatures will drop into the mid 30s with a good chance of frost, and colder spots will see a freeze.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Clouds increase Saturday ahead of a cold front, and a band of showers will move through the state late in the day into Saturday night. We still believe the main threat of rain comes from about 4 p.m. Saturday through 6 a.m. Sunday. No threat of severe weather, probably no thunder, and rain amounts generally under one-half inch. Then the sky becomes mostly sunny Sunday, but the day will be breezy and cool with a high in the 50s.

Sunday night will be cold; a freeze is likely Monday morning with lows in the 26- to 32-degree range.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For high school playoff games Friday night, the weather looks pleasant and dry with temperatures falling from the mid 60s at kickoff into the upper 50s by the final whistle.

Saturday, Alabama hosts the Mercer Bears at Bryant-Denny Stadium (11 a.m. kickoff). The sky will be mostly cloudy, and we will mention just a small chance of a shower during the second half of the game. The best chance of showers in Tuscaloosa should come after 4 p.m. Temperatures will be in the 60s.

Auburn will host Louisiana-Monroe Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium (11 a.m. kickoff). It will be mostly cloudy but dry; the best chance of rain in Auburn comes after 6 p.m. Temperatures will be in the 60s.

UAB will be down in Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators (kickoff at 3 p.m. Central). The sky will be mostly sunny with a kickoff temperature near 80 degrees, dropping back into the mid 70s by the second half.

THANKSGIVING WEEK: Monday and Tuesday will be dry; beyond that, forecast confidence drops considerably. The latest Global Forecast System suggests a chance of showers Wednesday, but other runs have been dry for the northern two-thirds of the state. And very cold air will move southward into the continental U.S. late in the week, but exactly when that reaches Alabama remains up for grabs. The new GFS is much slower, but we will continue to forecast colder weather for our state late in the week. We will be able to be much more specific this weekend.

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