James Spann: Scattered showers in Alabama this afternoon; Florence still strong

RADAR CHECK: We have a classic late-summer, random pattern of scattered showers on radar across Alabama this afternoon. They are drifting westward and will fade away once the sun goes down. Otherwise, the sky is partly sunny with temperatures mostly in the mid to upper 80s.

THURSDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND: Not much change on Thursday. Look for a partly sunny sky with a few scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers or storms; the high will be in the upper 80s. Then, the weather looks hot and mostly dry Friday through Sunday, with a good supply of sunshine each day and a high close to 90 degrees. Afternoon showers can’t be ruled out, but they should be few and far between as Alabama gets in the zone of sinking air on the far periphery of Hurricane Florence.

Hot and mostly dry weather continues early next week; new model data shows little, if any, rain for Alabama as a direct result of Hurricane Florence. We are on the dry side of the circulation.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: Auburn hosts LSU Saturday afternoon (2:30 p.m. kickoff) at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The sky will be mostly sunny with a kickoff temperature near 90 degrees, falling into the upper 80s by the fourth quarter. The chance of a shower is not zero, but very low.

Alabama travels to Oxford to take on Ole Miss Saturday evening (6 p.m. kickoff). The sky will be mostly clear. The temperature will fall from near 88 at kickoff into the low 80s by the final whistle.

UAB hosts Tulane Saturday at Legion Field (noon kickoff). Temperatures will rise from 87 at kickoff to near 90 by the fourth quarter. There’s just a very small risk of a shower during the game.

FLORENCE: Hurricane Florence is packing sustained winds of 125 mph, and should be near the southern coast of North Carolina late Thursday night or early Friday morning. As steering currents collapse, the hurricane will go nearly stationary for a while, then drift down the coast toward Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Florence will drift inland through South Carolina, and because of the slow motion some severe freshwater flooding is possible, with rain amounts exceeding 30 inches in spots through Monday.

Key messages from the National Hurricane Center:

  • A life-threatening storm surge is now highly likely along portions of the coastlines of South Carolina and North Carolina, and a Storm Surge Warning is in effect for a portion of this area. All interests in these areas should complete preparations and follow any advice given by local officials.
  • Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding is likely over portions of the Carolinas late this week into early next week, since Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland.
  • Damaging hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina, and a Hurricane Warning is in effect. Strong winds could also spread inland into portions of the Carolinas.
  • Large swells affecting Bermuda and portions of the U.S. East Coast will continue this week, resulting in life-threatening surf and rip currents.

INVEST 95L: A wave in the Gulf of Mexico could become a tropical depression before it reaches the lower Texas Coast Friday. One way or another, the main impact will be heavy rain for South Texas Friday and over the weekend. This won’t affect Alabama or the central Gulf Coast.

ISAAC: This tropical storm should pass through the Leeward Islands tomorrow, then dissipate over the Caribbean over the weekend because of shear.

HELENE: This hurricane in the eastern Atlantic is moving north and is no threat to land.

ON THIS DATE IN 1979: Hurricane Frederic made landfall at about 10 p.m., passing over Dauphin Island and crossing the coastline near the Alabama/Mississippi border. A wind gust of 145 miles per hour was measured on equipment atop the Dauphin Island Bridge. The bridge was destroyed. A wind gust of 139 mph was measured at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab before the equipment failed. A storm surge of 12 feet was observed in Gulf Shores. Nearly all structures within 200 yards of the Alabama coast were destroyed. There were two fatalities as a direct result of Frederic. Total damages were $2.3 billion, making Frederic the most expensive hurricane ever to strike the United States up to that point.

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