James Spann: Alabama stays dry Wednesday; showers, storms return late Thursday

DRY WEATHER CONTINUES: The sky is mostly sunny across Alabama this afternoon; the sun is filtered to some degree by high cirrus clouds. Temperatures are generally in the mid 80s. The sky will remain mostly clear tonight.

Dry weather continues Wednesday; expect a partly to mostly sunny sky with a high in the 86- to 89-degree range.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Clouds will increase during the day Thursday, and showers and storms will return to the state late Thursday and Thursday night. New model data shows a slower arrival of the storms; they are most likely after 4 Thursday afternoon over west Alabama, and after 6 p.m. for the rest of the state. The Storm Prediction Center has parts of north and west Alabama in a marginal risk (level 1 of 5).

Some of the storms over northwest Alabama Thursday evening could produce small hail and gusty winds, but the main dynamics will lift well north of here, and a big severe weather issue is not expected.

The front will run out of gas and stall out around here late Thursday night. This will keep a chance of showers and storms in the forecast for Friday. It won’t rain all day, but occasional showers are likely along with a possible thunderstorm. Severe storms are not expected Friday. The high will be in the mid 80s Thursday and close to 80 Friday.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The stalled front will keep the weather unsettled over the weekend. The sky will be mostly cloudy, and we will forecast occasional showers and storms Saturday and Sunday. It won’t rain all weekend long, and severe storms are not expected, but if you have something planned outdoors be ready for some rain at just about any hour. Rain amounts from Thursday night through Sunday will be in the 2- to 3-inch range for the northern half of Alabama. Highs over the weekend will be in the upper 70s.

NEXT WEEK: The front finally gets a good southward push Sunday night, and for now Monday and Tuesday look dry and pleasant with afternoon highs between 77 and 80. Showers and storms are possible next Wednesday and Thursday.

ON THIS DATE IN 2003: The 5.71 inches that fell at the Birmingham Airport was a record for the date, but much more impressive amounts fell to the northeast around Trussville. J.B. Elliott reported 9.82 inches at his home just northeast of Trussville, all of it falling within four hours. Another retired National Weather Service employee reported 10.5 inches of rain off Edwards Lake Road. Doppler radar estimates indicated that as much as 12 inches of rain fell across parts of Jefferson County, with as much as 8 inches falling in just one hour.

Tremendous flooding resulted in downtown Trussville, which took on the appearance of a massive lake. The Trussville Municipal Complex flooded. Several police cars and fire trucks were submerged. A mudslide blocked the entrance to Camp Coleman. Record crests were reported on Turkey Creek, Five Mile Creek and Village Creek. Across Jefferson County, more than 120 roads were underwater. High-water rescues had to be performed in many locations. More than 2,000 automobiles were submerged. Total damage in Jefferson County alone was estimated at $1 billion.

A tragic event occurred when a tree weakened by a severe thunderstorm earlier in the day fell on a house 12 hours later, killing a 13-year-old Trussville girl as she slept on the couch.

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