James Spann: October arrives with warm Alabama afternoons

James Spann has the Alabama forecast to kick off October from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

THIRD-WARMEST SEPTEMBER: Based on mean temperature in Birmingham, we just experienced our third-warmest September on record with a mean of 81.2 degrees. The top two warm Septembers came in 1925 (84.2) and 1921 (81.7).

WELCOME TO OCTOBER: October is the driest month of the year for most of Alabama, and usually features a wide range of temperatures. It has been as warm as 94 degrees, recorded on Oct. 1, 1919, Oct. 5, 1927, and Oct. 6, 1954. And it has been as cold as 27 degrees, measured on Oct. 29, 1952, and Oct. 28, 1957.

With an upper ridge hanging tough and expected to bring unseasonable warmth to Alabama this week, here is a look at our warmest Octobers, based on mean temperature data at the Birmingham Airport (where records go back into the late 1800s):

  1. 1919 (74.5)
  2. 1941 (72.0)
  3. 1984 (71.1)
  4. 2016 (71.0)
  5. 1931 (69.4)

During that hot October of 1919, the high was 94 degrees on this date (Oct. 1), and highs in the 80s continued on most days through Halloween (the high Oct. 31, 1919, was 84). A strong upper high was parked across the southern U.S. that month that simply didn’t want to go away easily.

Our latest day with a high of 90 or higher came on Oct. 17, 1897, when the high in Birmingham was 91. And, for cool weather fans, our coolest Octobers on record were in 1987 and 1952, when the mean was 56.8.

TODAY: We are forecasting a partly sunny sky today, and scattered showers and storms are expected to form in random places this afternoon and early tonight. The chance of any one community seeing rain is in the 30 to 40 percent range, and the high will be in the 82- to 85-degree range.

REST OF THE WEEK: A very high-amplitude pattern develops across north America, with a cold trough over the western U.S. and a warm ridge over the east. The ridge will be the impact player for Alabama, and this means mostly sunny days, fair nights and above-average temperatures. The high tomorrow will be in the mid 80s, followed by mid to upper 80s Wednesday through Friday. This is about 10 degrees above average values for early October in Alabama.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Not much change; while the west is cold with lots of mountain snow, the ridge will keep Alabama warm and dry. Look for partly to mostly sunny weather Saturday and Sunday with highs in the 80s.

NEXT WEEK: There’s still no evidence of the ridge breaking down; the first half of the week will be warm and dry, but it does seem like some chance of showers and storms will return to Alabama late in the week with the approach of a cold front.

TROPICS: Tropical Storm Florence is hanging around in the middle of the Atlantic, far from land. It could become a hurricane by midweek, but it will be nearly stationary. Over in the eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Rosa will make landfall along the coast of Baja California tonight; moisture from the system will bring a threat of flooding to parts of the Southwest in coming days.

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