James Spann: Rain moves into Alabama; much colder later today

James Spann: Strong cold front hits Alabama today from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

RADAR CHECK: Rain is increasing over the northern half of Alabama this morning ahead of a strong cold front near Memphis. The front will pass through the state today, and rain will become widespread with potential for some thunder; the good news is that we do not expect any issues with severe thunderstorms. Rain amounts of one-half inch to 1 inch can be expected through early tonight, when the rain shifts to the south.

Temperatures will hover in the low 60s this morning, but they will fall sharply as the front passes. Northwest Alabama will drop into the 40s by mid to late morning, and places like Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston and Gadsden will fall into the 40s by mid to late afternoon. The bottom line is that it feels pretty comfortable going in to work this morning, but it will be raw and cold when you head home later today.

TOMORROW/THURSDAY: A pattern develops in which moist air rides up and over the cold air near the surface; this means cloudy, cold weather on these two days with rain at times. Light rain is likely a decent part of the day tomorrow with a high only in the 40- to 44-degree range. Rain will be more scattered in nature Thursday; the high will be in the 44- to 48-degree range. These temperatures are 10 to 15 degrees below average for early December.

FRIDAY: The reliable European global models suggests that thermal profiles will be cold enough for some snow to mix in with the rain over parts of east central Alabama during the morning, and we will add that to our forecast.

Places like Rockford, Alexander City, Dadeville, Lafayette and Roanoke could see some snow flakes Friday morning, but temperatures will be above freezing (in the mid to upper 30s), and at this point we expect no impact. Otherwise, Friday will be cold and generally dry over the northern half of the state with a high in the 40s. The best chance of seeing a decent amount of sun will be over the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama.

SATURDAY: The day will be cold and breezy; many north Alabama communities will have a hard time getting out of the 30s. And a clipper type system moving down the back side of the upper trough over the eastern third of the nation will have potential to squeeze out snow flurries, or perhaps a few snow showers over the northern third of the state. Moisture will be limited, and for now we don’t expect any significant accumulation or impact. The best chance of seeing a few snow flakes Saturday morning will be along and north of U.S. 278, or north of a line from Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden.

SUNDAY: Sunday morning will bring our coldest temperatures so far this season; most places will wind up somewhere between 18 and 22 degrees with a clear sky and light wind. The day Sunday will be mostly sunny and cold, with a high in the 40s.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: The “Super 7” AHSAA football championship games will be played at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa tomorrow through Friday. It will be cold, and some light rain is possible at times, especially tomorrow and Thursday. Daytime temperatures will be in the 40s, falling into the 30s at night.

NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND: The pattern continues to favor below-average temperatures for at least the next 15 days; for now, most of next week looks dry.

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