James Spann: Warmer days ahead for Alabama; strong storms Saturday

COLD NOVEMBER DAY: Temperatures across north and central Alabama are 20 to 25 degrees below average for Nov. 27, generally in the 37- to 44-degree range. The sky is sunny, and a brisk north wind is making it feel colder. Another significant freeze is ahead tonight; most communities will drop into the 20- to 25-degree range early Wednesday with a clear sky and light wind, but some of the colder pockets will slip into the upper teens.

Wednesday will be sunny with light wind, and a warming trend begins. We rise to near 50 degrees Wednesday afternoon.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Clouds will increase Thursday, and a few widely scattered showers could break out late in the day over north Alabama. Friday will be a mostly cloudy day with a chance of scattered showers over the northern half of the state. The high will be in the upper 50s Thursday, followed by mid 60s Friday.

To the west, strong to severe storms will likely fire up Friday in a broad zone from Shreveport to Memphis as a vigorous storm system approaches. The Storm Prediction Center has outlined a risk of severe thunderstorms for this area in its outlook for Friday.

STRONG STORMS SATURDAY: A deep surface low will be over Missouri Saturday, supported by a strong upper trough. Moist, unstable air will surge into Alabama from the south, and with the approach of a cold front strong thunderstorms are likely. Storms could possibly be severe, but it remains to be seen if parameters will come together for this. Much will depend on timing; if the storms arrive early in the day, when the air is more stable, the overall severe threat is lower. Afternoon storms could combine with higher instability levels for a more substantial threat.

The bottom line is that it is still too early to be specific about the timing, placement and magnitude of the severe weather threat Saturday. But rain is certainly likely for part of the day, and the rain could be heavy at times. The high Saturday will be around 70 degrees.

Saturday night and Sunday look dry; in fact, Sunday should be a nice day with a partly to mostly sunny sky and a high near 70 degrees.

NEXT WEEK: Another dynamic storm system will bring another round of rain and strong thunderstorms to Alabama late Monday and Monday night; this one will also need to monitored for severe potential as we get closer. The rain will end early Tuesday, and much colder air arrives for the latter half of the week (Wednesday through Friday).

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