James Spann: More record highs for Alabama today; much cooler next week

James Spann forecasts another October scorcher for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

NEW DAY, OLD FORECAST: The strong upper high, responsible for the historic autumn heat wave in recent days, remains over Alabama today, meaning little change in the weather. Highs will rise into the 95- to 100-degree range again this afternoon with a partly to mostly sunny sky. Any afternoon showers or storms will remain isolated. There will be no real change Friday although heat levels will back off a few degrees, with highs in the low to mid 90s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The upper high finally begins to break down. A wedge, “back-door” front will push into northeast Alabama, bringing a chance of showers and cooler temperatures. Highs will be in the 80s there, with low 90s for the rest of the state. We have a chance of showers and a few thunderstorms statewide Sunday as moisture levels continue to rise and the air aloft becomes cooler. Temperatures will remain below 90 degrees statewide Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: The long-awaited cold front pushes through the state Monday with periods of rain and temperatures generally in the 70s. Rain amounts from Sunday to Monday should be around one-half inch, with heavier totals possible over the Tennessee Valley of north Alabama — not a drought buster, but certainly beneficial and enough to settle the dust. Dry weather is likely Tuesday and Wednesday with mostly sunny, pleasant days and fair, cool nights.

Another front will bring a chance of rain late Thursday, Thursday night and possibly into Friday.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the high school games Friday night, the sky will be mostly fair with temperatures falling from the low 80s at kickoff into the upper 70s by the final whistle.

Saturday, Auburn travels to Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators (2:30 p.m. Central kickoff). The sky will be partly to mostly sunny with a kickoff temperature in the low 90s and just a 1 in 5 chance of a brief passing shower during the game.

Saturday evening UAB will host Rice at Birmingham’s Legion Field (kickoff at 6). There will be just an outside risk of a shower early in the game; otherwise it will be mostly fair with temperatures falling from near 88 at kickoff through the 80s during the game.

Jacksonville State will host Tennessee State Saturday evening (kickoff at 6). There will be a risk of showers mainly during the first half of the game. Temperatures fall from near 85 at kickoff into the upper 70s by the fourth quarter.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin is mostly quiet this morning, although there is one tropical wave to watch in the northwest Caribbean. This will move into the far southern Gulf of Mexico over the weekend; for now the National Hurricane Center gives this only a 20% chance of development over the next five days.

RAIN UPDATE: Today will be, most likely, the 19th consecutive day without measurable rain at Birmingham; the total since Sept. 1 is only 0.56 of an inch, and the deficit for the year is up to 4.04 inches. The new Drought Monitor will be released this morning.

MORE RECORDS: Here are official highs across Alabama yesterday, again all at record levels:

  • Tuscaloosa — 101
  • Huntsville — 100
  • Muscle Shoals — 100
  • Montgomery — 99
  • Calera — 99
  • Pell City — 99
  • Selma — 99
  • Gadsden — 98
  • Cullman — 98
  • Mobile — 96

ON THIS DATE IN 1979: An F4 tornado struck the towns of Windsor, Windsor Locks and Suffield in Connecticut, causing an estimated $400 million in property damage. The New England Air Museum, which housed more than 20 vintage aircraft, was destroyed. This tornado also caused a United Airlines flight to abort a landing at the Bradley International Airport because the pilot saw the tornado.

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