James Spann: Searing heat for Alabama through midweek; much cooler next week

HOTTEST OCTOBER DAY: Today is the hottest October day on record for Alabama. Temperatures at 3 p.m. include:

  • Tuscaloosa — 99 (it hit 100 at 2 p.m.)
  • Muscle Shoals — 99
  • Selma — 99
  • Birmingham — 98
  • Anniston — 98
  • Prattville — 98
  • Montgomery — 97
  • Huntsville — 97
  • Demopolis — 96
  • Gadsden — 94
  • Mobile — 94

The previous record October high at Birmingham was 94, established on Oct. 1, 1919; Oct. 5, 1927; Oct. 6, 1941, and Oct. 6, 1954.

We do note a few small, isolated showers over the eastern half of the state, but most of the state remains dry.

REST THE WEEK: The upper high stays in place, and more record heat is likely each day through Friday with highs in the 90s. The sky will remain partly to mostly sunny and, like today, afternoon showers will be few and far between.

FINALLY, A BREAK: The high Saturday will be close to 90 with a mix of sun and clouds; a few showers are possible mainly over the northeast part of the state. Showers will increase Sunday as the ridge weakens, and the high will drop into the 80s. And on Monday a cold front passes through (the LONG-awaited front) with a good chance of showers and much cooler air. Most places won’t get out of the 70s Monday.

REST OF NEXT WEEK: Look for mostly sunny, pleasant days and fair, cool nights; highs will be mostly between 75 and 80, with lows in the 50s. Cooler spots could see 40s on a few mornings across north and central Alabama.

TROPICS: Hurricane Lorenzo, with winds of 100 mph, will pass by the western Azores tonight, then become post tropical later in the week as it approaches the United Kingdom. The National Hurricane Center is also monitoring two tropical waves — one east of the Bahamas (moving northeast), and one in the Caribbean (moving northwest). Those have only a 10% chance of development over the next five days.

NUMBER TWO: The month that ended Monday was the second-warmest September on record for Birmingham. Here are the top five (based on average temperature):

  • 1925 — 84.2
  • 2019 — 82.1
  • 1921 — 81.7
  • 2018 — 81.4
  • 1931 — 81

NUMBER 11: This past month is the 11th-driest September on record at Birmingham with 0.56 inches of rain. The driest is September 1955, with only a trace.

ON THIS DATE IN 1890: The weather service is first identified as a civilian agency when Congress, at the request of President Benjamin Harrison, passes an act transferring the meteorological responsibilities of the Signal Service to the newly created U.S. Weather Bureau in the Department of Agriculture.

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