James Spann: Occasional showers, storms for Alabama over the weekend

RADAR CHECK: Showers and thunderstorms continue to increase over the western half of Alabama this afternoon, but they are under severe limits. So far the eastern side of the state has remained dry. We will maintain the chance of showers and storms this evening; they should diminish later tonight.

UNSETTLED WEATHER OVER THE WEEKEND: A moist, unstable air mass will remain parked over Alabama with a stalled surface front over the northwest corner of the state. We will see occasional showers and storms Saturday and Sunday with highs in the upper 70s. The Storm Prediction Center maintains a marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) of severe thunderstorms for most of Alabama both days.

Here are some notes on what to expect this weekend:

  • The weekend won’t be a total washout. There will be some good breaks in the rain Saturday and Sunday.
  • The main threat from heavier thunderstorms will come from strong straight-line winds. The tornado risk remains very low.
  • It is impossible to give specific rain start/stop times for any given point in this pattern. Just be ready for a passing shower or storm at any hour of the day or night.
  • When thunder roars, go indoors, even if it is not raining. If lightning is within 8 miles of an outdoor venue, everything needs to stop and people need to seek shelter.
  • Rain amounts over the weekend will be around 2 inches over the northern half of the state.
  • Storms will end Sunday night as the surface boundary pushes south.

NEXT WEEK: The weather still looks dry all week for the northern half of Alabama. Highs will be in the upper 70s Monday, close to 80 Tuesday and back into the low to mid 80s each day for the rest of the week. Showers will be possible along the Gulf Coast for the first half of the week.

ON THIS DATE IN 2010: On this day, Oklahoma experienced its largest tornado outbreak since May 3, 1999. Fifty-five twisters tore through the state, including two rated EF4. The EF4 storms took three lives and injured 81 people. Oddly enough, both EF4 tornadoes struck Norman, Oklahoma, home of the Storm Prediction Center and the National Severe Storms Laboratory. Fourteen additional tornadoes hit Oklahoma during May 11-13. The May 10 disaster racked up insured property losses of $2 billion.

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