James Spann: Alabama turns sharply colder Friday

FEBRUARY WARMTH CONTINUES THROUGH MIDWEEK: Temperatures are generally in the low 70s across Alabama this afternoon; the sky is mostly cloudy over the western counties at mid-afternoon, with a partly sunny sky to the east. There is very little on radar.

Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a few isolated showers possible; temperatures won’t drop below the low 60s.

WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY: Not much change Wednesday — more clouds than sun, a few scattered showers and a high in the low 70s for most communities. Thursday looks mostly dry during the day with a mix of sun and clouds. For now we are forecasting a high of 75 degrees, within one degree of the record high of 76 for Feb. 7, set in 1999. Showers will likely move through the state Thursday night ahead of a cold front.

COLDER FRIDAY: Friday will be a different kind of day with a much colder air mass dropping into the state. Look for breezy, cold and lingering clouds most of the day. Temperatures will hold in the 40s over the northern counties with a cool north breeze. Some partial clearing is possible Friday afternoon.

Friday night will be cold; we project a low in the mid 20s by early Saturday morning as the sky becomes clear and the wind dies down.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be a sunny day with a high near 50, and we have removed the chance of showers Sunday. The day will be partly sunny with a high between 56 and 60 degrees.

NEXT WEEK: Most of the week looks cloudy and mild with some risk of showers daily and highs mostly in the 60s. On a positive note, we see no risk of severe storms, tornadoes, flooding, snow or ice across Alabama for the next seven to 10 days.

ON THIS DATE IN 2008: The 2008 Super Tuesday tornado outbreak was underway; it was a deadly event that affected the Southern United States and the lower Ohio Valley on Feb. 5-6, 2008. The event began on Super Tuesday, when 24 states were holding primary elections and caucuses to select the candidates for the upcoming presidential election. Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee were among the affected regions in which primaries were being held. Some voting locations were forced to close early because of the approaching severe weather. A total of 57 people were killed across four states and 18 counties, with hundreds of others injured.

After midnight that night, a supercell developed over Starkville, Mississippi, and tracked over Lamar, Marion and Fayette counties in Alabama. It spawned a tornado in Lawrence County at 3:02 a.m. The tornado touched down south of Moulton; many houses were damaged or destroyed, and a church was leveled. Three fatalities, all from a single family, were reported north of Aldridge Grove. Another tornado was responsible for a death in Jackson County.

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