James Spann: Rain returns to Alabama Saturday afternoon

SUNNY AFTERNOON: Temperatures are generally in the 50s across Alabama this afternoon with a good supply of sunshine, but clouds will increase statewide tonight ahead of an approaching storm system.

Rain becomes likely from about noon through midnight Saturday as a surface low moves through. Rain amounts of around one-half inch are likely, and the air will be cool and stable, so there will be no severe storms and probably no thunder. A decent part of north Alabama will hold in the 40s Saturday, with 50s for the southern counties of the state.

Sunday will be cloudy and cool; some lingering light rain or drizzle is possible, mainly during the morning. The high Sunday will be in the mid 50s.

TO THE NORTH: Snow is likely in a broad zone from Kansas City to Baltimore over the next three days; some of the heaviest snow will fall around St. Louis, where 10-12 inches is possible in a few places. Winter storm warnings are in effect for much of this region.

NEXT WEEK: We will forecast gradual clearing Monday, and the weather should stay dry through Thursday with seasonal temperatures; highs will be mostly in the 50s and lows in the 30s. Rain returns at the end of the week on Friday, with potential for rain continuing into the beginning of the weekend (Jan. 18-19).

ON THIS DATE IN 1918: An incredibly strong area of low pressure brought snow and bitter cold temperatures to much of the southern United States. Birmingham picked up an inch of snow. In far southeastern Alabama, an estimated F3 tornado damaged virtually every building in the town of Webb (Houston County). The tornado leveled a rural school, killing one teacher and seven students.

ON THIS DATE IN 1885: Five documented strong-to-violent tornadoes struck Alabama during the evening of Jan. 11, 1885. These tornadoes affected at least 15 counties across the state from approximately 5 p.m. until after 11 p.m.

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