James Spann: Warm May days for Alabama, with a few strong storms Saturday

James Spann has the Alabama Friday forecast and a weekend weather preview from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

SUMMER PREVIEW CONTINUES: Warm weather continues across Alabama today, with afternoon temperatures in the mid 80s in most places. We have a few widely scattered storms early this morning over northeast Alabama, and a few more isolated showers or thunderstorms could pop up this afternoon, but most of the day will be dry with a mix of sun and clouds.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A weak front will approach from the north, so showers and storms will be a little more numerous Saturday. But they will be random and scattered, and most of the day will be dry. A passing shower or storm is possible at just about any hour, but the heavier storms will come during the late afternoon and evening, during the peak of the daytime heating process.

Where storms do form, they could be strong. The Storm Prediction Center has put most of the state in a slight risk (level 2 of 5).

Some of the storms could produce small hail and strong, gusty winds; tornadoes are not expected to be an issue, with a unidirectional wind profile and very low storm relative helicity values. This is not a severe weather threat like the ones we experienced in March and April, with all modes of severe storms possible.

The sky will be cloudy at times on Saturday, and the high will be close to 80 degrees. Then, on Sunday, drier air returns; the sky will be partly sunny with a high between 77 and 80. Any showers should be confined to far south Alabama, and even there they will be pretty isolated.

NEXT WEEK: Monday will be warm and dry; with a mostly sunny sky the high will be in the mid 80s. Most of Tuesday will be dry, although a few showers could form late in the day over west Alabama. Then, Wednesday through Friday, expect a mix of sun and clouds each day with a few scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs will remain in the 80s.

TROPICS: A broad low-pressure trough will bring showers and storms to the Florida Peninsula again today (not the Panhandle). This feature will curve to the northeast over the next 24-36 hours. Odds of tropical development are only 10 percent.

ON THIS DATE IN 1999: There were 63 tornadoes in Oklahoma, making this the worst outbreak ever to strike the state. In central Oklahoma alone, eight individual supercell thunderstorms produced 57 tornadoes. Bridge Creek, Moore and southern parts of the Oklahoma City metro area were hit the hardest. When it was near Moore, a truck-mounted Doppler radar measured a wind speed of 318 mph, the highest ever observed in a tornado. Forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman were faced with the unprecedented situation of a major tornado on the ground threatening their location. As a major F5 tornado was approaching the Oklahoma City metro area from the southwest, the SPC notified its backup, the Air Force Weather Agency at Offutt AFB in Omaha, Nebraska, that they might have to assume operational responsibility if the tornado approached Norman. The storm remained several miles west of the facility but was visible from the SPC roof. Damage from this single tornado was around $1 billion, making it the most costly tornado in history. Estimated damage from the entire tornado outbreak was $1.485 billion, making this the most expensive tornado outbreak ever. In all, 2,314 homes were destroyed and another 7,428 were damaged. To the north in Kansas, an F4 tornado tracked 24 miles through Sumner and Sedgwick counties, killing six, injuring 154 and causing $146 million in damages.

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