James Spann: Today could be summer’s hottest so far for much of Alabama

James Spann forecasts a scorching start to the Alabama work week from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

HOT IS THE WORD: Based on data at Birmingham, the hottest temperature so far this summer is 97 degrees, recorded on July 6, July 9, Aug. 7 and yesterday, Aug. 11. We are projecting highs in the upper 90s today and Tuesday, and most likely it will be the hottest weather of the summer for many Alabama communities. A heat advisory is in effect for much of the state because of elevated heat index values.

The average high for Birmingham on Aug. 12 is 91; the record high is 102, set in 2010 and 2007. The last time Birmingham recorded a temperature at or over 100 degrees was on June 26, 2016.

An upper high nosing in here from the west, which is responsible for the heat, will also keep afternoon thunderstorms to a minimum today and Tuesday. Showers and storms during the peak of the heat are certainly possible, but they should be few and far between. The sky will be partly to mostly sunny.

WEDNESDAY: The upper high weakens, allowing a surface front to push into north Alabama. This will bring lower heat levels and an increase in the number of showers and thunderstorms. We still can’t promise rain for everyone, but any one front yard stands a slightly better than 50/50 chance of getting wet a time or two, especially during the afternoon and evening. The Storm Prediction Center has much of Central Alabama in a marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) of severe thunderstorms with the approach of the front. The high Wednesday will drop into the low 90s.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: The front will become nearly stationary somewhere around U.S. 80 Wednesday night, meaning the best chance of scattered showers and storms on these two days will shift down into south Alabama. Drier air will move into the northern counties, and the chance of showers will be very low there with mostly sunny days, fair nights and lower humidity levels. The high both days will be at or just over 90 degrees for most communities.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The weather looks pretty quiet for most of the state with a good supply of sunshine both days and only isolated afternoon showers or thunderstorms. Highs will be in the low 90s, right at seasonal averages for August in Alabama.

NEXT WEEK: For now we will forecast rather routine summer weather — partly sunny days with widely scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs will hold mostly in the low 90s.

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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