James Spann: A few showers for Alabama today; severe storms possible Sunday morning

James Spann has the Alabama forecast and a look at the weekend storms from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

A FEW SHOWERS TODAY: A cold front is creeping into northwest Alabama early this morning, and we have a few showers ahead of the front. Moisture is limited and there is little upper support, but we will maintain the chance of showers across Alabama today; otherwise the sky will be mostly cloudy with a high in the 70s. I would not call it a “rainy day,” but be ready for a passing shower from time to time.

Rain will likely increase late tonight as the front moves northward as a warm front.

SATURDAY: The best chance of rain will most likely come Saturday morning over the northern half of Alabama. By midday the most widespread rain should be to the north over Tennessee. The sky becomes partly sunny Saturday afternoon, and any showers by then should be few and far between; the high will be close to 80 degrees for most places.

SEVERE WEATHER THREAT: A rather dynamic weather system will bring the threat of severe storms to Alabama after midnight Saturday night into Sunday morning. The Storm Prediction Center has all of Alabama at risk of severe storms on one or both of its outlooks covering Sunday.

I don’t want you to get hung up in risk areas and colors on these maps; just understand all of Alabama has a risk of severe thunderstorms.

The storms will be coming through at a time when instability values will be low, but despite the weaker thermodynamics, a deep surface low will pass northwest of Alabama, supported by a vigorous upper trough with strong wind fields.

TIMING: The core threat will come from 3 a.m. until noon Sunday. The threat will be over west Alabama during the pre-dawn hours, then moving eastward. A new area of showers and storms could develop along the actual cold front Sunday afternoon, but for now the severe-weather threat with that activity looks low.

THREATS: Thunderstorms will be capable of producing large hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes.

RAIN: Rain amounts of one-half inch to 1 inch are expected, and flooding should not be an issue.

CALL TO ACTION: Be sure you have a way of hearing warnings. Every Alabama home, business and church must have a NOAA Weather Radio, properly programmed and with a battery backup. Be sure WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts) are enabled on your phone. Know the safe place in your home and have helmets, portable air horns and hard-sole shoes for everyone in the family there. If you live in a manufactured home and are put in a tornado warning polygon, you have to get out. Identify a shelter or other safe structure that is available during the pre-dawn hours on Sunday morning. Every church should review its severe weather plan.

No need to be anxious about this; we are in the core of the spring tornado season, and having threats like this is common this time of the year. Just have a way of hearing warnings, and a good action plan.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: Both Auburn and Alabama play their spring football games Saturday (1 p.m. kickoff in Tuscaloosa; 3 p.m. kickoff in Auburn). There’s just a small risk of a shower in Tuscaloosa; otherwise, it will be partly sunny and warm at both stadiums with temperatures around 80 degrees at kickoff.

NEXT WEEK: Monday and Tuesday will be dry with sunshine in full supply; highs will be in the 70s and morning lows in the 40s. Moisture returns Wednesday, and more strong storms are likely Thursday, Thursday night and possibly into Friday morning.

ON THIS DATE IN 1945: A series of significant tornadoes raked Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois. Antlers, Oklahoma, was nearly obliterated by a massive F5 tornado that zigzagged from southwest to northeast across the town. 69 people died in the twister. Another tornado killed eight people in Oklahoma City. The disaster was overshadowed by the loss of President Franklin Roosevelt, who died suddenly at his vacation home at Warm Springs, Georgia.

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