James Spann: Very cold night ahead for Alabama

COLD, DRY AFTERNOON: Temperatures are in the 30s over the northern quarter of the state this afternoon despite sunshine in fully supply; we have low to mid 40s across the central counties. Tonight will be fair and very cold; lows will range from 15 to 25. Colder temperatures will be in the valleys, as usual.

A warming trend begins Thursday afternoon with a sunny sky; the high will be in the mid 50s. Friday will be mostly sunny and warmer, with a high between 57 and 60 degrees.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will almost feel like spring — partly to mostly sunny with a high in the mid 60s, about 10 degrees above average for the first part of February. Clouds will move in Saturday night, and Sunday will be a mostly cloudy day with potential for a few showers; the high Sunday will be in the upper 60s as the warmup continues.

NEXT WEEK: We will mention a chance of showers, and possibly a thunderstorm, Monday through Wednesday thanks to a stalled front just north of the state. Colder, drier air returns for Thursday and Friday.

RECORD COLD UP NORTH: Chicago’s official low this morning was 23 degrees below zero (at O’Hare Airport). The wind chill index at one point dropped to minus 52. Chicago’s all-time record low was minus 27, set on Jan. 20, 1985. At one point this morning Ely, Minnesota, reported minus 31, a sustained wind of 35 mph and a wind chill index of minus 70.

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