James Spann: February thaw for Alabama through much of next week

FINE FEBRUARY AFTERNOON: While clouds are over south Alabama with a few showers, the northern half of the state is enjoying a mostly sunny sky with temperatures in the 60s. We stay above freezing tonight, with a low around 40 degrees for most communities.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Highs will remain in the 60s Saturday and Sunday; we will forecast a mix of sun and clouds both days, and while a few isolated showers can’t be ruled out, most of the weekend will be dry.

NEXT WEEK: Much of the week will be unseasonably mild; afternoon highs will be in the 68- to 73-degree range Monday through Thursday. The sky will be occasionally cloudy, and there will be some risk of showers just about daily with a surface front stalled just north of the state. There might even be a thunderstorm or two along the way, but no severe storms are expected.

There is much model inconsistency in what happens at the end of the week; we will side with the reliable European model, which suggests the surface front will move southward and bring cooler air back into the state Friday.

WELCOME TO FEBRUARY: Birmingham’s average high/low today is 55/35; it will rise to 62/40 by Feb. 28. The coldest temperature on record came on Feb. 13, 1899, when Birmingham dropped to 10 degrees below zero. Our average rain for the month is 4.8 inches.

ON THIS DATE IN 1955: Seen first as a “well-defined cone-shaped funnel” over the Mississippi River, an F3 tornado cut a path from Commerce Landing to Clark in northeastern Mississippi. This tornado killed 20 and injured at least 141 people. Most of the deaths were in a school.

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