James Spann: Occasional rain through the weekend for Alabama

James Spann has the Alabama forecast for Thursday and into the weekend ahead from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

DRY SPELL IS OVER: We have measurable rain in Birmingham this morning for the first time since May 16. Radar shows a large mass of rain over most of Alabama, and we will be wet through Friday with rain at times along with a few thunderstorms. A few strong storms are possible over parts of southwest Alabama today; the Storm Prediction Center has a slight risk (level 2 of 5) defined for parts of Sumter, Choctaw and Washington counties, with a marginal risk (level 1 of 5) in the broad zone from Tuscaloosa to Mobile.

A few storms over the southwest part of the state could produce strong, gusty winds later today and early tonight, but severe storms are not expected for most of Alabama. Most communities will stay below 80 degrees today because of clouds and rain, and the high Friday will be in the low 80s.

A flash flood watch is in effect for Mobile and Baldwin counties and eastward into the Florida Panhandle through Friday morning.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Deep tropical moisture will remain over Alabama with high precipitable water values, and we will see occasional rain and thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday. There will be breaks in the rain, but there is no skill in providing start/stop times for any specific point. We don’t expect any severe thunderstorms, and highs will be mostly in the 79- to 83-degree range.

Additional rain amounts of 2-4 inches are likely for most of Alabama from now through Sunday night, with amounts over 5 inches possible for areas near the Gulf Coast. This is a very beneficial rain event for the Deep South.

NEXT WEEK: Wet weather continues on Monday, but drier air begins to move into the state Tuesday as the rain chances diminish, and the rest of the week looks mostly dry. Highs will be generally in the 80s.

ON THIS DATE IN 1944: Originally D-Day, the invasion in Normandy, France, was scheduled for June 5, 1944, but the weather was too bad. Instead, the invasion happened the next day, on June 6. Weather conditions would likely have changed the outcome of the largest seaborne invasion in history if the date had been kept.

Gen. Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower wanted the most accurate forecast, with high confidence and with no room for errors. Capt. James Martin Stagg was the chief meteorologist of the British Royal Air Force and was the one to brief Eisenhower about the rough seas and lashing rain affecting the shore on June 5. Stagg previsioned the small window of better weather for early morning June 6. A high-pressure system was over Greenland and the Azores, driving a low-pressure system to the north-northeast across the Atlantic. Over these latitudes of the world, it is common to have parades of low-pressure systems, which bring constant periods of unsettled weather and, in between, very brief instances of tolerable conditions.

On June 6, a low-pressure system had moved east of England and a stronger low-pressure system was just off the southeast coast of Greenland. Helping the invasion even further was the full moon and an early morning low tide. There were partly cloudy skies allowing the full moon’s light to help soldiers during the overnight invasion, and the extreme low tides would ensure extreme low sea level so that the landing crafts and soldiers could spot all mined obstacles scattered on the beaches. Overcast skies dominated inland, where aircraft would drop more than 13,000 bombs. The Germans did not foresee this brief break in the bad weather. In fact, they forecast unsettled weather until mid-June.

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