James Spann: Too hot in Alabama, but relief is ahead

HOT: Here are observed temperatures across Alabama at 3 p.m.:

  • Montgomery — 101
  • Shelby County Airport — 101
  • Prattville — 101
  • Tuscaloosa — 100
  • Dothan — 100
  • Birmingham — 99
  • Muscle Shoals — 99
  • Anniston — 98
  • Gadsden — 97
  • Mobile — 97
  • Huntsville — 96

Birmingham is just shy of the record high for Sept. 17 — 101, set in 1927.

The weather won’t change much Wednesday; highs will be mostly in the mid to upper 90s, perhaps a few degrees lower than today. We could see a few widely scattered showers late in the day, mainly over east Alabama, ahead of a backdoor cold front approaching from Georgia — nothing widespread, and most places stay dry.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Temperatures will drop about 10-12 degrees; we project highs in the mid to upper 80s both days with a good supply of sunshine. Morning lows will be well down in the 60s, and we could very well see some upper 50s in cooler pockets.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Sunny weather continues Saturday and Sunday with highs mostly in the 87- to 90-degree range; parts of west Alabama could see low 90s.

NEXT WEEK: A cold front approaching from the north could trigger a few scattered showers over the northern half of the state Monday and Tuesday, but for now widespread rain doesn’t look likely with limited upper support and moisture.

As you look at this graph, add about five degrees to the afternoon highs shown because of the lack of soil moisture.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: The weather will be clear for the high school games Friday night with temperatures falling from the low 80s at kickoff into the 70s by the second half.

Saturday, Alabama will host Southern Mississippi at Bryant-Denny Stadium (11 a.m. kickoff). The sky will be sunny with temperatures rising from near 85 at kickoff to 90 by the final whistle.

Auburn is on the road, traveling to College Station to take on Texas A&M (2:30 p.m. Central kickoff). Scattered showers and storms are possible during the game with temperatures generally in the low 90s.

UAB hosts South Alabama at Legion Field in Birmingham (2:30 p.m. kickoff). The sky will be sunny with temperatures in the upper 80s at kickoff, falling into the mid 80s by the end of the game.

TROPICS: Tropical Storm Imelda formed quickly near the Texas coast this morning; landfall was near Freeport. It will bring heavy rain to parts of southeast Texas over the next 48 hours. Tropical Depression 10 has formed in the Atlantic; it is forecast to become a hurricane north of the Lesser Antilles this weekend, but most likely it recurves into the Atlantic before reaching the U.S.

And Hurricane Humberto has sustained winds of 100 mph in the Atlantic; it will pass just north of Bermuda Wednesday night before heading out to the North Atlantic and becoming post-tropical.

ON THIS DATE IN 1989: Hurricane Hugo hit the Virgin Islands, producing wind gusts to 97 mph at Saint Croix. Hurricane Hugo passed directly over the island of Saint Croix, causing complete devastation and essentially cutting off the island from communications. A storm surge of 5 to 7 feet occurred at Saint Croix. The only rain gauge left operating, at Caneel Bay, indicated 9.4 inches in 24 hours. Hurricane Hugo claimed the lives of three people at Saint Croix and caused more than $500 million damage.

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