James Spann: Warmup for Alabama before strong storms Saturday

James Spann has the Alabama forecast for the rest of the work week into a stormy Saturday from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

WARMING TREND: Temperatures are all over the board across our state early this morning. We are seeing mid 20s over northeast Alabama, but some places on the western side of the state are 20 degrees warmer, with mid 40s because of clouds and a south breeze. The sky will become mostly cloudy today, and we project a high in the upper 50s this afternoon with potential for a few widely scattered showers.

TOMORROW: It will be another cloudy day with a few passing rain showers likely, mostly over the northern half of the state. Temperatures will rise into the mid 60s as the warming trend continues. To the west, strong to severe storms will form; the Storm Prediction Center has an enhanced risk (level 3 of 5) defined for parts of Arkansas and adjacent states; there is a slight risk (level 2 of 5) over to I-55 in Mississippi, and a marginal risk (level 1 of 5) into southwest Alabama. This outlook is valid through 6 a.m. Saturday.

SATURDAY: Rain and storms will increase across Alabama late tomorrow night into Saturday, and the SPC has defined a slight risk (level 2 of 5) from Birmingham south to the Gulf Coast, with a marginal risk (level 1 of 5) north of Birmingham to the Tennessee Valley.

This is a fairly complex forecast in that it now looks like the main window for heavier storms will come from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m., but the better thermodynamic environment for severe storms will come after 2, after the main dynamic support has lifted away. Still, some thunderstorms across the state Saturday could produce gusty winds and some hail. There is also a low-end tornado threat. But the system being out of phase to some degree should prevent this from being a major severe weather event. We will keep a close eye on model trends as the system gets closer.

Saturday will feature mild temperatures, with a high up in the low 70s; rain amounts of one-half inch to 1 inch are expected. Saturday night will be dry and pleasant.

SUNDAY: Morning clouds will give way to a partly sunny afternoon, and it will be unseasonably mild, with a high between 70 and 75 degrees for most places. Clouds thicken Sunday night, and some rain is possible, especially after midnight.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: Saturday’s SEC title game between Alabama and Georgia (3 p.m. Central kickoff) will be played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (in the dome). For those walking to the game, rain and thunderstorms are likely in Atlanta with temperatures in the 60s. The rain will end Saturday evening.

UAB will take on Middle Tennessee State in the C-USA Championship game in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Saturday (12:30 p.m. Central kickoff). Rain is possible, mainly during the first half of the game. Temperatures will be in the 60s.

Jacksonville State travels to Orono, Maine, to take on the Maine Black Bears Saturday (11 a.m. Central kickoff). The sky will be mostly sunny with 29 degrees at kickoff, rising into the mid 30s by the fourth quarter.

NEXT WEEK: Rain is likely Monday morning, but models now are trending drier for Monday afternoon and Monday night. The high Monday will be in the 65- to 70-degree range, and rain amounts should be less than one-half inch. The rest of the week looks dry and much colder, with highs in the 40s on most days and lows below freezing.

HURRICANE SEASON ENDS FRIDAY: The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season officially concludes tomorrow, and will be remembered most for hurricanes Florence and Michael, which caused significant damage in the Southeast. The season produced 15 named storms, including eight hurricanes, of which two were major (Category 3, 4 or 5). An average season has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

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