James Spann: Clearing Saturday, sunny Easter for Alabama

COLD, WET: A deep, cold-core upper low is moving over Alabama this afternoon, setting the stage for a cloudy, cold, wet day. Temperatures over the northern half of the state are in the 47- to 54-degree range. The next time we have a day this cool will probably come in October. Occasional rain showers will continue through tonight.

EASTER WEEKEND: Clouds will most likely hang tough through the morning Saturday, but sunshine returns by afternoon with a high in the mid 60s. Then, on Sunday, we expect a cloudless sky with a high in the mid to upper 70s after a morning low in the 40s — a picture-perfect spring day.

NEXT WEEK: The weather will be warm and dry Monday through Wednesday with highs in the low to mid 80s. The next weather system will bring a chance of showers and thunderstorms Thursday; it’s still too early to know if we have any risk of severe storms. Then we trend drier Friday and the following weekend (April 27-28).

HURRICANE MICHAEL UPGRADED TO CATEGORY FIVE: Scientists at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center conducted a detailed post-storm analysis on all the data available for Hurricane Michael and have determined that the storm’s estimated intensity at landfall was 140 knots (160 mph). This final wind intensity is a 5-knot (5 mph) increase over the operational estimate and makes Michael a category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale at the time of landfall on October 10, 2018, near Mexico Beach and Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

Michael is the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States as a category 5 since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and only the fourth on record. The others are the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 and Hurricane Camille in 1969. Michael is also the strongest hurricane landfall on record in the Florida Panhandle and only the second known category 5 landfall on the northern Gulf Coast.

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