James Spann: Showers, storms return to Alabama Thursday afternoon

RADAR CHECK: We have a few, small, isolated showers over parts of central and south Alabama this afternoon, but most of Alabama is dry with a partly sunny sky. Temperatures are generally in the mid to upper 80s, but Tuscaloosa reached 90 degrees at 2 p.m.

We could see a few isolated showers tonight, but most communities will stay dry.

THURSDAY: A surface front will approach, and we will bring in some risk of showers and storms by afternoon. A few strong thunderstorms are possible; the Storm Prediction Center has much of the state in a low-end, marginal risk (level 1 of 5).

A few storms could produce gusty winds and small hail, but the overall severe weather threat is low with the best dynamic support well to the north. Wind profiles are unidirectional, meaning no tornado threat. The high Thursday will be in the low to mid 80s with a mix of sun and clouds.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: The surface front will stall out across the area, keeping the weather unsettled. There are many outdoor events going on, including the Regions Tradition at Greystone, so here are some notes for those who plan on being outside:

  • There will be some good breaks in the rain, so these three days won’t be a total washout.
  • We don’t expect any severe thunderstorms.
  • It is impossible to give specific rain start/stop times for any specific location. Just be ready for an occasional passing shower or thunderstorm.
  • Showers are possible at any hour of the day or night, but they should be most numerous during the afternoon and evening hours.
  • The high will be in the low 80s Friday and in the upper 70s over the weekend.
  • Rain amounts from Thursday afternoon through Sunday night will be in the 2- to 3-inch range for the northern half of Alabama, with lighter amounts to the south.

NEXT WEEK: The front gets a good southward push Sunday night, and Monday and Tuesday look dry and pleasant with highs around 80 degrees. Showers and storms return Wednesday; the forecast for the latter half of the week is fairly low confidence because of model inconsistency.

ON THIS DATE IN 2003: This was the second of three consecutive days with strong to violent tornadoes around Oklahoma City. A violent F4 tornado that affected Moore, Oklahoma City, Midwest City and Choctaw took on a path very similar to the May 3, 1999 devastating tornado. Although more than 130 people were injured in the 2003 storm, there were no fatalities.

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