James Spann: Showers for Alabama Thursday, thunderstorms possible Saturday

FEELING BETTER: With sunshine in full supply, temperatures are mostly in the 50s across Alabama this afternoon, a good 15-20 degrees warmer than recent days. Clouds will increase across the state tonight as the next weather system approaches from the west.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: We will mention a chance of showers Thursday afternoon and evening, but with limited moisture, rain amounts should be under one-half inch and some places won’t even see one-quarter inch. Otherwise, Thursday will be a cloudy, cool day with a high in the low 50s.

Friday will be very comfortable as temperatures rise into the 60- to 65-degree range. The day will feature more clouds than sun, but the chance of rain will be small.

BIG WEATHER CHANGES OVER THE WEEKEND: Saturday will be mostly cloudy and breezy, and a potent weather system will bring rain to the state by afternoon. The best chance of rain will come from about noon to midnight; rain amounts of around 1 inch are likely. Some thunder is certainly possible, but for now we don’t expect a problem with severe thunderstorms because of the lack of surface-based instability. Saturday’s temperatures will be mild, with highs in the low to mid 60s.

Late Saturday night the rain moves out and the coldest air so far this season moves in. Sunday will be a windy, cold day, with temperatures holding in the 30s over north Alabama despite afternoon clearing. A brisk north wind of 15-25 mph will make it feel colder.

And, yes, snow flurries are a pretty good possibility over north Alabama as the cold air rushes into the state Sunday morning, but we still expect no accumulation or no impact. The incoming cold air is the big story.

NEXT WEEK: Monday morning will feature a clear sky, light wind and a low between 15 and 25 degrees across north and central Alabama. The day will be sunny with a high in the 40s. The next weather system will bring rain back into the state by the middle of next week; we will side with the slower European global model (the ECMWF) and mention rain mainly Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night. More cold air will move into the state next Thursday and Friday.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: During the morning of Jan. 16, 2018, a band of light snow moved into northwest Alabama, and then progressed toward the I-20 corridor during the afternoon as it trended toward a weakened state. Because of limited moisture content, a trace to less than 1 inch of snow resulted from the band on average over north Alabama. But, as the system encountered deeper moisture to the south, 2 to 4 inches of snow fell in a zone from near Grove Hill to Montgomery to Lafayette.

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