James Spann: Alabama heat backs off Wednesday

HOT AFTERNOON: Temperatures are generally in the 93- to 98-degree range across Alabama this afternoon with a partly sunny sky. We have a few widely scattered showers and storms on radar in areas south and east of Birmingham this afternoon; they are moving very slowly and will dissipate after sunset.

ONE MORE VERY HOT DAY: An excessive heat warning has been issued for a decent part of Alabama on Tuesday. Temperatures won’t be much different from today; highs should be in the mid to upper 90s, but dew points in the low 70s could push the heat index to 110 in spots. And, like today, afternoon showers should be few and far between.

The record high for Birmingham on Aug. 13 is 103, set in 2007; that record should be safe. The average high for Aug. 13 is 91.

TUESDAY NIGHT/WEDNESDAY: A surface front will approach Tuesday night, and a band of showers and storms could invade the Tennessee Valley of far north Alabama. On Wednesday, we will have a good chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms statewide. We can’t promise rain for everyone, but any one spot stands a 40% to 50% chance of getting wet, especially during the afternoon and evening. The Storm Prediction Center has a marginal risk of severe storms (level 1 of 5) defined Wednesday for much of central Alabama; some of the storm could produce strong, gusty winds.

THURSDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND: The surface front is expected to make it all the way down to the Gulf Coast by Wednesday night, and it looks like much of the state will be dry Thursday through the weekend. This means mostly sunny days, lower humidity levels and cooler nights. Highs will be in the low 90s and lows in the 60s. Any showers over the weekend should be confined to far south Alabama.

NEXT WEEK: Moist air slowly returns next week, and we will see the return of scattered afternoon and evening showers and storms, especially over the latter half of the week.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin is quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the week. Only twice in the past 20 years has the Atlantic had zero named storms between July 15 and Aug. 15: 1999 and 2015. FYI, 1999 still ended up a well-above-average Atlantic hurricane season, while 2015 was a below-average Atlantic hurricane season.

ON THIS DATE IN 2004: Hurricane Charley was the third named storm and the second hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. Charley lasted from Aug. 9 to Aug. 15, and at its peak intensity it attained 150 mph winds, making it a strong Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. It made landfall in southwestern Florida at maximum strength, making it the most powerful hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Andrew struck Florida in 1992.

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