James Spann: Warm afternoon for Alabama, with widely scattered showers

RADAR CHECK: We have a few widely scattered showers and storms over the northern half of Alabama this afternoon; they are moving north. But most of the state is dry with a partly sunny sky. Temperatures are generally in the mid 80s; the average high in Birmingham on May 2 is 78. Showers will end early tonight, and there is only a small risk of an overnight shower.

The weather won’t change much Friday. We expect a mix of sun and clouds with just a few widely scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers or storms. Most communities will stay dry and the high will be in the mid 80s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A weak front will edge into far north Alabama Saturday, and there should be an increase in the number of scattered showers and storms. Still, a decent part of the day will be dry. Where storms do form Saturday afternoon and evening, they could produce hail and strong, gusty winds. The Storm Prediction Center has a marginal risk (level 1 of 5) defined for parts of north and central Alabama.

The sky will be occasionally cloudy Saturday with a high in the low 80s. Drier air returns Sunday, and the sky should be partly to mostly sunny with a high in the low 80s. Any showers Sunday should be confined to far south Alabama, and even there they will be isolated.

NEXT WEEK: Monday will be warm and dry. The latest global data suggests showers could return late Tuesday or Tuesday night, and then each day will have some risk of scattered showers and storms Wednesday through Friday. This is a summer-like setup, meaning the showers will be random and scattered — nothing too widespread. Highs will remain in the 80s as the ridge holds.

TROPICS: A broad disturbance around the Bahamas will curve northeast just off the Southeast U.S. coast over the next few days; the National Hurricane Center gives this only a 10 percent chance of becoming organized. There will be no impact to the Florida Panhandle or the Alabama Gulf Coast.


ON THIS DATE IN 2010: May began with two days of historical rainfall over much of middle Tennessee, with a massive swath stretching along the I-40 corridor from Benton County to Davidson County. Some areas received nearly 20 inches of rain during this two-day period, the highest of which was 19.41 inches reported by an observer in Camden, Tennessee. Numerous rainfall records were broken at the Nashville International Airport, including the most rain received in a six-hour period, highest calendar day rainfall and wettest month, along with several others. Incredibly, the Nashville Airport experienced its wettest and third-wettest days in history on back-to-back days. Many area rivers exceeded their record crest levels, including the Harpeth River near Kingston Springs, which rose to 13.8 feet above the previous record. The Cumberland River at Nashville reached its highest level since flood control was implemented in the late 1960s, flooding parts of downtown Nashville. Waters from the Cumberland reached as far inland as Second Avenue, flooding many downtown businesses. Forty-nine Tennessee counties were declared disaster areas with damage estimates of between $2 billion and $3 billion statewide. Many Nashville landmarks sustained damage from floodwaters, including Gaylord Opryland Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry.

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