James Spann: Another cold, dry day for Alabama; severe storms possible this weekend

James Spann has the Alabama forecast for midweek from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

FRIGID START: The calendar says March, but it feels more like January early this morning across Alabama and the Deep South. Here are some temperatures just before sunrise:

  • Black Creek — 17
  • Cullman — 19
  • Hueytown — 20
  • Pell City — 21
  • Haleyville — 21
  • Fort Payne — 21
  • Bessemer — 22
  • Tuscaloosa — 24
  • Jemison — 24
  • Thorsby — 24
  • Heflin — 24
  • Birmingham — 25
  • Anniston — 25
  • Montgomery — 28
  • Mobile — 30

Today will be sunny with a high in the mid to upper 40s across the northern half of the state; temperatures will reach the 50s over south Alabama.

Tonight will be clear and cold, and much of the state will see another freeze early Thursday morning, with a low in the 20s. Then, a warming trend begins Thursday afternoon as we reach the low 60s with ample sunshine.

Clouds increase Thursday night, and Friday will be a mostly cloudy day with a few passing showers possible as moisture returns. The high Friday will be in the 60s.

SEVERE STORMS POSSIBLE THIS WEEKEND: A vigorous storm system will develop across the middle of the nation Saturday, and will bring the potential for severe storms to much of the southern U.S. The Storm Prediction Center has defined a severe weather risk in a broad zone from eastern parts of Texas and Oklahoma to Tennessee and west Georgia, including basically all of Alabama.

Models have trended a little faster; we now believe the main window for strong to severe storms in Alabama will come from 3 p.m. Saturday through 3 a.m. Sunday. Based on the projected strong kinematic field, it looks like all modes of severe weather will be possible, including large hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes. Rain amounts of 1-2 inches are likely, and for now we are not expecting any major issues with flooding. We will be much more specific about timing and placement on Thursday.

Before the storms arrive, Saturday will be a mild, breezy day with a few scattered showers and a high in the mid 70s. After the storms, rain will end very early Sunday, and we expect slow clearing by Sunday afternoon with a high in the low 70s.

NEXT WEEK: Monday and Tuesday look dry with highs in the 60s. The next round of showers and storms will arrive Wednesday or Wednesday night.

STORM SURVEYS: Ten tornadoes have been identified by National Weather Service offices in Birmingham and Mobile from Sunday’s severe thunderstorms. EF-0 tornado tracks were discovered Tuesday in Autauga and Bullock counties.

ON THIS DATE IN 1962: The strongest nor’easter of this century struck the Mid-Atlantic Region on March 5-9, 1962. It is known as the “Ash Wednesday Storm” and caused more than $200 million (1962 dollars) in property damage and major coastal erosion from North Carolina to Long Island, New York. In New Jersey alone, it was estimated to have destroyed or greatly damaged 45,000 homes. The storm killed 40 people. The same storm dropped snow as far as north Alabama.

DST BEGINS: Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday;  set your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed Saturday night. Sunset in Birmingham Sunday will be at 6:51 p.m.

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