James Spann: Periods of rain and storms for Alabama through the weekend

RADAR CHECK: The heaviest rain in Alabama this afternoon is over the northwest part of the state, where some thunderstorms are involved. Showers are more scattered across central and south Alabama; we had a waterspout near Dauphin Island earlier today. Temperatures are mostly in the 80s, and tonight will be cloudy with a chance of some rain at times.

THURSDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND: Deep tropical moisture with high precipitable water values will cover Alabama Thursday through Sunday, and as an upper trough approaches it will set the stage for a beneficial rain event for all of Alabama and the Deep South. Each day, we will forecast periods of rain along with a few thunderstorms. Odds of severe thunderstorms are low, although the Storm Prediction Center has put a marginal risk up for far west Alabama on Thursday.

Rain amounts will be in the 3- to 5-inch range for north and central Alabama through early next week, with potential for isolated amounts to 7 inches along the Gulf Coast. The Weather Prediction Center has a moderate risk of excessive rain defined for Mobile and Baldwin counties on Friday.

For those planning outdoor events, there will certainly be breaks in the rain, but there is no way we can forecast rain start/stop times for any specific location in this pattern. Daytime temperatures will remain below average because of clouds and rain; highs will be mostly in the upper 70s and low 80s. Sunshine will be hard to find Thursday through the weekend.

NEXT WEEK: Wet weather continues Monday with occasional rain and a few thunderstorms, but drier air returns Tuesday, and the middle of the week looks rain-free with a slow warming trend.

ON THIS DATE IN 1976: When water began leaking from Idaho’s new Teton Dam, there seemed to be no cause for alarm. On this date, warnings were frantic that the dam was about to break. As workers tried to shore up the dam, it crumbled shortly after 11 a.m., sending 180 billion gallons of water pouring through Teton Canyon. Eleven people lost their lives, but the toll would have been much higher if the dam had failed at night and residents had been asleep.

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