James Spann: Wednesday will be Alabama’s warmest day so far this year

RADAR CHECK: A few lingering showers and thunderstorms are over Alabama this afternoon, but for most of the state the sky has become partly sunny. Temperatures are mostly in the mid 70s. Scattered showers will end this evening, and the sky will be mostly fair tonight.

WARM DAYS AHEAD: We project a high in the mid 80s Wednesday with a sunny sky; it will be the warmest day so far this year for most of Alabama. Birmingham’s warmest temperature so far is 82, recorded on Sunday, April 7. Thursday will be a partly sunny day with a high in the low 80s. Then, on Friday, we will bring in a chance of showers with a cold front drifting down into the state. The front will be working with limited upper support and not much moisture, so there should be no worries with severe storms, and rain amounts should be fairly light. The high Friday will be in the upper 70s.

STORMY WEEKEND AHEAD: The front will lift northward through Alabama as a warm front. This will bring some rain to the state Saturday, but it won’t rain all day. It is almost impossible to forecast placement and timing of the rain this far out, but for now it looks like the best chance of rain for south Alabama will come early in the day, and over north Alabama during the midday hours. As the warm front continues to move northward, most places will see some sun Saturday afternoon with a high around 80 degrees.

Then, a dynamic weather system will bring showers and storms to the state late Saturday night into the day Sunday. Global guidance suggests for now the main threat of severe storms will come from about 3 a.m. until noon Sunday, but this probably will change as we get closer to the weekend. The Storm Prediction Center has already defined a severe weather risk for much of Alabama on its outlook for Sunday.

It looks like all modes of severe weather will be possible, including large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes. Be sure your church has a severe weather plan. Have a NOAA Weather Radio, someone monitoring it and a plan of action to put people in a safe place in the event the church is in a tornado warning polygon. Now is the time to prepare.

NEXT WEEK: The first half of next week looks dry with pleasant afternoons and cool nights — highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s.

ON THIS DATE IN 1953: The first radar image of a tornado was detected by radar equipment at the University of Illinois Airport at Champaign, Illinois. Studies of the radar pictures from that day showed that a tornado of significant size and intensity could be detected.

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