James Spann: Showers, storms at times in Alabama through Saturday

UNSETTLED WEATHER CONTINUES: Radar shows large areas of rain across the northern half of Alabama this afternoon as moisture levels continue to rise. The sky is cloudy and temperatures are generally in the 60s. In south Alabama, the sun is shining in many places, and Mobile is up to 74 degrees at midafternoon.

To the west, strong to severe storms are expected to increase across the ArkLaTex region in the coming hours; the Storm Prediction Center maintains an enhanced risk (level 3 of 5) for this region tonight. Those storms will enter west Alabama after midnight, but they should be weakening as they move into our state, and at this point we expect the storms to be under severe limits.

STORMY SATURDAY: Rain and storms are likely over north and central Alabama Saturday morning, but the activity will taper off by late morning. Again, the morning storms are expected to remain below severe limits.

The severe thunderstorm risk during the afternoon is very conditional. Instability values will rise during the afternoon, but the main dynamic support will be lifting out to the northeast. Still, additional thunderstorms could form along a dry line moving into the state from the west, and if they form they could be strong to severe, with potential for gusty winds and some hail. There is also a low-end tornado threat.

The SPC maintains a slight risk (level 2 of 5) of severe storms for areas south of Birmingham Saturday, and there is a marginal risk (level 1 of 5) from Birmingham north.

The window for severe storm development is from roughly noon until 6 p.m., but it is important to note that many of the good, high-resolution, convection-allowing models show no development, and there is a real chance no storms form during the afternoon over the northern half of the state. But if they do fire up along the dry line, they could pack a punch and we will be watching them closely.

Temperatures Saturday will be mild, with a high around 70 degrees. Most of the state will be rain-free Saturday night.

SUNDAY: Morning clouds will give way to a partly sunny afternoon, and the day will be very mild for early December, with a high in the low 70s.

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, showers and thunderstorms are likely 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). The good news is that it now looks like most of the rain will be over by kickoff, with just an outside risk of a lingering shower or storm during the game. Otherwise, look for a mostly cloudy afternoon with temperatures 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 partly sunny with 29 degrees at kickoff, rising into the mid 30s by the fourth quarter.

NEXT WEEK: Some rain is possible Monday morning over the southern half of the state; otherwise the day will be mostly cloudy with a high in the 60s. Then, much colder air arrives for the latter half of the week, with highs in the 40s on most days and subfreezing lows. The next chance of rain will come around Saturday, Dec. 8.

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