James Spann: Occasional showers, storms for Alabama over the weekend

RADAR CHECK: Showers and storms are steadily increasing across Alabama this afternoon as the air becomes more unstable. Some storms this evening over the northern part of the state could become strong; the Storm Prediction Center maintains a marginal risk (level 1 of 5) for areas north of I-20. The main threats are small hail and strong, gusty straight-line winds.

We will hang on to the chance of a few late-night showers or storms as an upper trough provides some dynamic support.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The sky will feature more clouds than sun Saturday and Sunday, and we are forecasting scattered to numerous showers and storms both days. The weekend won’t be total washout, but you will have to deal with some rain from time to time. The best chance of showers and thunderstorms will come from 1 until 11 p.m., but a few late-night or morning showers are possible.

With only a limited amount of sunshine, temperatures will be below average. Highs will be mostly in the 85- to 88-degree range.

NEXT WEEK: Unsettled weather continues Monday and Tuesday with scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms, but drier air will creep into north Alabama Wednesday. Much of Alabama will be dry Thursday and Friday with lower humidity and cooler nights. Cooler pockets could easily see lows in the upper 50s early Thursday and Friday morning.

TROPICS: Tropical Storm Ernesto will become post-tropical in the North Atlantic over the weekend, and the rest of the Atlantic basin is very quiet. The tropical wave east of the Windward Islands is not expected to develop.

It’s interesting to note there have been no Atlantic hurricanes since July 12. The National Hurricane Center forecasts no hurricane development in the next five days. The last time the Atlantic went from July 13 through Aug. 22 with no hurricanes was 2013.

ALABAMA FIREBALL: Last night, at 12:19 a.m., numerous eyewitnesses in the Southeast reported seeing a very bright fireball, which was also detected by all six NASA meteor cameras in the region. Analysis of the data indicates that the meteor was first seen at an altitude of 58 miles above Turkeytown, Alabama (northeast of Gadsden), moving west of north at 53,700 mph. It fragmented some 18 miles above the small town of Grove Oak. Early results indicate the fireball, which was at least 40 times as bright as the Full Moon, was caused by an asteroid 6 feet in diameter. We are still assessing the probability of the fireball producing meteorites on the ground; either way, it was an extremely bright event, seen through partly cloudy skies and triggering every camera and sensor operated by the Meteoroid Environment Office in the region.

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For more weather news and information from James Spann and his team, visit AlabamaWx.

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