James Spann: Gradual clearing this afternoon; brighter, warmer days ahead for Alabama

James Spann forecasts a cold one for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

FLURRIES: A cold core upper low is lifting northward, away from Alabama, but there is just enough moisture and lift this morning for a few snow flurries in scattered pockets over the northern half of the state. They won’t last long, and there is no impact. No need to panic. FYI: the earliest occurrence of snow flurries in a season at Birmingham came on Oct. 20, 1913.

We expect clearing from the west and southwest this afternoon, but temperatures will stay way below average. The high will be in the 38- to 42-degree range for north and central Alabama, with 40s and 50s for the southern part of the state.

Tonight will be clear and cold, and most of Alabama will see a freeze early tomorrow morning, with lows between 26 and 32. The only part of the state that is expected to remain above freezing is the southeast corner around Dothan. Freeze warnings have been issued.

TOMORROW AND THE WEEKEND: Look for sunny days, clear nights and a warming trend for Alabama. We rise into the mid 50s tomorrow, followed by mid 60s Saturday and Sunday.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the high school playoff games Friday night, the sky will be clear with temperatures falling from the mid 40s at kickoff into the upper 30s by the final whistle.

Saturday, Alabama hosts The Citadel at Bryant-Denny Stadium (11 a.m. kickoff). The sky will be sunny with temperatures rising from near 57 at kickoff into the low 60s by the second half.

Auburn will host Liberty Saturday (3 p.m. kickoff) at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It will be a sunny afternoon with temperatures falling from near 63 at kickoff into the mid 50s by the final whistle.

UAB will travel to College Station to take on Texas A&M (6 p.m. kickoff). Clouds will increase during the game, but the weather will stay dry. Temperatures will fall from near 65 at kickoff into the upper 50s by the fourth quarter.

THANKSGIVING WEEK: It now looks like the week will be mostly dry. A wave in the Gulf could bring some rain to far south Alabama Friday, but elsewhere it looks like partly to mostly sunny days and fair nights with highs in the 58- to 64-degree range most days. Models also suggest Iron Bowl Saturday (Nov. 24) will be dry with a high around 60 degrees.

ON THIS DATE IN 1989: A devastating F4 tornado crossed through the southern parts of Huntsville. The tornado was on the ground for 18.5 miles and at its largest was 880 yards wide. Per the National Weather Service survey, the tornado touched down around 4:30 p.m. during the beginning of rush hour. Twenty-one people died as a result of the tornado and 463 were injured.

Between the Parkway and Whitesburg Road, the F4 tornado found plenty to destroy, including apartment complexes, office buildings, churches and shopping malls. Nineteen of the 21 fatalities occurred in this short stretch of the path, including 11 people in cars. Another fatality occurred in an automobile on Garth Road. Many never saw the tornado, and had no chance to escape.

There was no tornado warning while the tornado was initially on the ground, but a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect.

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