James Spann: Still hot, still dry in Alabama

HOT MEMORIAL DAY AFTERNOON: Temperatures are generally in the 92- to 95-degree range across Alabama this afternoon with a partly sunny sky. So far no showers have developed because of the warmer air aloft associated with the upper ridge, but we can’t rule out an isolated shower or storm this evening. Most places will stay dry.

TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY: Hot, dry weather continues, with mostly sunny days, fair nights and highs between 90 and 95.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: The upper ridge weakens a bit, opening the door for widely scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms on these three days — very typical on summer days in Alabama. Nothing widespread, but at least a few spots could see a cooling shower. Highs will be in the 88- to 92-degree range, with partly sunny days and fair nights.

NEXT WEEK: Not much change; temperatures will stay generally above average, with highs around 90 and just the chance of a few widely scattered afternoon storms. Prospects of widespread rain don’t look good for the next seven days.

TROPICS: The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season begins Saturday and will run through the end of November. Most major hurricanes come in August and September, when sea water temperatures tend to peak.

ON THIS DATE IN 1973: A long-track EF-4 tornado touched down northeast of Demopolis and traveled northeastward. A great amount of damage occurred in Greensboro, Brent, Centreville, Montevallo, Columbiana, Wilsonville, Childersburg and many areas in between. The tornado finally lifted near Mt. Cheaha after creating a path of damage 139 miles long and up to 800 yards wide at its largest. Six people were killed and another 128 were injured along the path, including in the town of Brent, where five lost their lives and 56 were injured. Another person died and 72 were injured in the town of Greensboro. A grand total of 216 buildings were destroyed, 570 buildings damaged, 97 mobile homes destroyed and 45 businesses either damaged or destroyed. Along with all of the structural damage, more than 12,000 acres of timber was destroyed.

The National Weather Service radar facility near Brent was heavily damaged by the tornado; the radar dish had been blown from its tower and lay on the ground about 20 feet from the office. The roof was two-thirds gone and the rest of the building looked as it had been sand-blasted.

ALSO ON MAY 27, 1973: Another large tornado touched down northeast of Tarrant at approximately 5:50 p.m. and started on its path of causing great damage. The first major location it hit was Center Point, where most of the damage occurred. Thirty-two frame homes and 48 mobile homes were destroyed, and more than 300 homes sustained damage. One person lost his life as he and his family were taking shelter in their basement and the home collapsed. The tornado continued northeast passing close to St. Clair Springs, just south of Springville and just north of Ashville, before lifting near Gadsden. The total damage path was estimated at 50 miles and was 800 yards wide at its widest. Wind speeds were estimated at 162-209 mph.

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