James Spann: Rain chances increase for Alabama later this week

RADAR CHECK: As expected, showers are almost impossible to find across much of north and east Alabama this afternoon, where dry air is in place. We do have scattered showers and thunderstorms south of a line from Millport to Calera to Auburn; they are drifting slowly to the south and will dissipate after sunset. Temperatures are generally in the low 90s this afternoon.

TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY: Not much change, although moisture levels will be a bit higher. We will forecast a partly sunny sky both days with a few widely scattered, afternoon “pop-up” storms during the peak of the heat. Highs will remain mostly in the low 90s; a few spots could reach the mid 90s.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Afternoon storms will remain scattered on Thursday, but there should be an increase in the coverage of rain statewide Friday as the air becomes more unstable and moisture levels continue to rise. The chance of any one spot getting wet is 30 percent Thursday, rising to near 60 percent Friday. The high Thursday will be close to 90, falling back into the 80s Friday because of the increase in clouds and showers.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Rather unsettled weather will continue with scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday. Most of the showers will come from roughly 1 until 11 p.m., although we can’t totally rule out a late-night or morning shower. The sky will be occasionally cloudy, and the high will be in the 85- to 89-degree range both days.

NEXT WEEK: For now it looks like fairly routine August weather next week, with partly sunny, hot days and the usual risk of scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs will be pretty close to 90.

TROPICS: A small swirl in the central Atlantic, far from land, has only a 10 to 20 percent chance of development over the next five days. The rest of the Atlantic basin remains very quiet.

ON THIS DATE IN 2004: Charley moved into the Florida Gulf Coast south of Tampa Bay near Punta Gorda with sustained winds of 150 mph, a strong category four hurricane. It was one of four hurricanes that made landfall or had a direct impact on the Sunshine State that season. Charley was initially expected to hit farther north in Tampa, and caught many Floridians off guard because of a sudden change in the storm’s track as it approached the state. Along its path, Charley caused 10 deaths and $16.9 billion in damage to insured residential property, making it the second-costliest hurricane in United States history at the time. Charley was a compact, fast-moving storm, which limited the scope and severity of the damage.

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