James Spann: Much cooler in Alabama today, with some patchy, light rain

James Spann: Wet weather for Alabama at times this week from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

WEDGE FRONT: Yesterday featured a huge thermal contrast across Alabama; the northeast corner of the state barely got out of the 40s, while parts of west Alabama flirted with 80-degree warmth. Cold air damming (CAD) was responsible for this — a pattern in which cold air slips down the backbone of the Appalachian Mountains and into east Alabama. The wedge will be deeper today, and much of north and central Alabama will hold in the 50s all day. The sky will be cloudy, and a little patchy, light rain is possible, but rain amounts will be very light and spotty.

Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy and warmer; any showers will be widely spaced. The high tomorrow will be in the mid 60s, slightly below seasonal averages (the average high for Birmingham on March 27 is 69).

WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY: The warm-up continues Wednesday; the high will be in the 77- to 80-degree range. The sky remains cloudy, and while a few scattered showers are possible during the day, most of the rain will come Wednesday night and Thursday with a slow-moving front/upper trough. The rain could be heavy at times; we project amounts of around 2 inches, with locally heavier amounts. Some thunder is possible, but at this point the risk of severe storms in Alabama is low. The core severe weather risk this week will be west of our state.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Friday will feature a clearing sky with a high in the mid to upper 60s, and at this point the weekend looks delightful. We are forecasting ample sunshine Saturday and Sunday with highs close to 70 Saturday, followed by mid 70s Sunday. A weak front will approach from the north Sunday night, but for now moisture looks very limited, and we will maintain a dry forecast.

NEXT WEEK: For now Monday and Tuesday look dry; a cold front will bring a risk of showers Wednesday, followed by another shot of drier air for the end of the week. The good news is that for now we see no severe weather issues during the week.

LAST FREEZE? I still expect one more frost/freeze threat for the northern half of Alabama. Global models are showing signs of a deep upper trough setting up over the eastern third of the nation in the April 6-9 time frame. My advice every year is to wait until April 15 if you want to plant anything that will be harmed by a freeze.

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