James Spann: Hot, mostly dry weather continues for Alabama

James Spann has the Alabama forecast to begin the last work week of summer from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

SUMMER HANGS IN THERE: Summer doesn’t officially end until Saturday at 8:54 p.m., the time of the autumnal equinox when the sun is directly over the equator — a day with approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. And summer will hang in there this week, thanks to an upper ridge; we are forecasting mostly sunny days and fair nights through Thursday, with afternoon showers remaining few and far between. The chance of any one spot getting wet each afternoon between now and Thursday is only 5 to 10 percent, and afternoon highs will stay in the low 90s.

The average high for Birmingham on Sept. 17 is 85, so these values are 5 to 8 degrees above average. Keep in mind the average high doesn’t drop below 80 here until October; this is a low-latitude state, and we all know September can feature some very hot weather. Many of our heat records in the state have been established in early September.

We will mention a little higher coverage of afternoon showers or thunderstorms on Friday as the ridge weakens, but much of the state will stay dry.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: We are forecasting partly to mostly sunny days Saturday and Sunday with widely scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms; highs will be in the 85- to 88-degree range. And the same general pattern continues into early next week. There’s no sign of any really widespread rain here for the next seven days.

VOODOO LAND: Looking at data from the European global model, it suggests potential for a little more than 4 inches of rain around here over the next 45 days; there’s no skill in a specific forecast beyond seven days, but there is some skill in pattern recognition. The bottom line is that we don’t believe this is the beginning of some kind of long-term drought.

Birmingham’s rain total for the year so far is 39.64 inches, which is right at the average value (a surplus of 0.48).

TROPICS: Nice to see there are no tropical storms or hurricanes across the Atlantic basin this morning. The “ghost of Isaac” is over the Caribbean; a few tropical models try and regenerate former Tropical Storm Isaac in coming days, pushing it into the Gulf of Mexico, but the global models show no redevelopment (the GFS and ECMWF). And the National Hurricane Center gives it only a 20 percent chance of getting its act together again. Still, we will keep an eye on it.

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