James Spann: Sizzling September weather continues for Alabama

James Spann forecasts a hot one with only isolated showers for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

HOT SEPTEMBER WEATHER: Birmingham’s official high Monday was 98 degrees — 11 degrees above average, but under the record high for Sept. 9 (103, set in 1925). Anniston also recorded a high of 98, while Tuscaloosa and Gadsden topped out at 96 degrees. The weather won’t change much each day through the rest of the week as a strong upper ridge remains parked across the Deep South. Look for partly to mostly sunny days, fair nights and only isolated afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Odds of any one spot getting wet each day are in the 10-20% range. Afternoon highs will be generally in the mid 90s, with upper 90s in spots.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The upper ridge begins to break down, heat levels drop and rain chances will increase, especially by Sunday. The key feature in our rain potential will be a tropical wave that is expected to be in the Gulf of Mexico. This wave will move up into the Southeast, most likely Sunday, and we will forecast occasional rain late in the weekend and into Monday of next week. This is a fairly low-confidence forecast for now since a tropical system is involved. The high will be in the upper 80s Saturday, dropping into the low 80s Sunday.

REST OF NEXT WEEK: The weather for the midweek period all depends on the behavior of the tropical system, but for now we will indicate a reduced chance of rain by Tuesday and Wednesday. Highs during the week should be in the 80s.

TROPICS: Tropical Storm Gabrielle in the North Atlantic will become post-tropical later today. There are two waves in the lower latitudes, one between the Lesser Antilles and the coast of Africa, and another one just coming off the African continent. Both of these are given only a low chance of development over the next five days by the National Hurricane Center.

A wave near the Bahamas is forecast to move across the Florida Peninsula and into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Again, for now, the NHC gives it only a low chance of development over the next five days. This is the one that has potential to bring beneficial rain to parts of the Southeast by Sunday and Monday, including Alabama. The best-chance scenario is for this feature to stay an open wave, but you always have to watch these carefully as sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are still very warm.

ON THIS DATE IN 1960: The center of Hurricane Donna passed over the middle of the Florida Keys between 2 and 3 a.m. on this day. Donna was a Category 5 hurricane over the Atlantic and a Category 4 at landfall. This storm caused the deaths of more than 100 in Puerto Rico, 50 in the states and 63 in a jet crash. The plane crash occurred Aug. 29 as a French airliner was attempting to land at Dakar, Senegal, during a “blinding rainstorm.” The storm was likely a tropical disturbance at the time of the crash.

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