James Spann: Warm afternoon for Alabama; strong cold front on the way

James Spann forecasts little change for Alabama’s weather until the weekend from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

WARM THROUGH FRIDAY: We project highs mostly in the mid 80s today and Friday with a partly sunny sky. Showers will remain few and far between, although we do note some rain this morning over southwest Alabama, in the broad zone from Demopolis to Mobile.

FRIDAY NIGHT AND THE WEEKEND: A strong cold front will bring clouds and showers to Alabama Friday night into Saturday morning. For now, it looks like the main risk of rain will come from roughly midnight Friday night through noon Saturday. Some thunder is possible, but no severe storms are expected and rain amounts should be generally less than one-half inch.

Saturday will be much cooler over north Alabama; many places north of Birmingham will hold in the 50s all day, quite the contrast to the triple-digit heat we experienced just a week ago. The high will be in the 60s for central Alabama. South Alabama will see 70s and 80s south of the front.

The front will become nearly stationary over south Alabama Sunday, and moisture will ride up and over the shallow layer of cooler air over the northern half of the state. Rain will most likely break out again Sunday afternoon and Sunday night as the overrunning pattern sets up.

NEXT WEEK: The weather looks fairly wet during the first half of the week; the highest coverage of rain statewide most likely comes on Tuesday. Rain amounts between Friday night and Wednesday could exceed 2 inches for parts of north and central Alabama. Thursday and Friday look cool and dry.

TROPICS: A nontropical storm (nor’easter) is bringing wind and rain to the New England coast today. Otherwise the tropics are quiet.

RACE WEEKEND AT TALLADEGA: A few showers are possible around the Superspeedway late Friday night or Saturday; rain amounts should be light and spotty. For Sunday, the sky will be mostly cloudy, and some rain is possible during the big race. The high will be in the low 60s Saturday, followed by low 70s Sunday. Sunday morning will be chilly, with lows in the upper 40s.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the high school games Friday night, the sky will be mostly cloudy and scattered showers are possible over the western half of the state. Temperatures will be in the 70s at kickoff, falling into the upper 60s by the fourth quarter.

Alabama travels to College Station to take on the Texas A&M Aggies (kickoff at 2:30 p.m. Central Time). The sky will be sunny with a kickoff temperature near 71 degrees.

UAB will also be in Texas Saturday, playing at UTSA (kickoff at 5 p.m. Central Time). Temperatures will fall from near 70 at kickoff through the 60s during the game with a brisk northwest breeze (although the game will be played in a dome). The sky will be mostly fair with no risk of rain.

Jacksonville State will take on Eastern Illinois Saturday (kickoff at noon Central Time) in Charleston, Illinois. The day will be cool and dry, with mid 50s at kickoff; sunshine will be in full supply during the game.

ON THIS DATE LAST YEAR: Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida. It was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the contiguous United States since Andrew in 1992. In addition, it was the third-most-intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous United States in terms of pressure, behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille of 1969. It was the first Category 5 hurricane on record to strike the Florida Panhandle, and was the fourth-strongest landfalling hurricane in the contiguous United States, in terms of wind speed.

At least 74 deaths were attributed to the storm, 59 in the United States and 15 in Central America. Hurricane Michael caused an estimated $25.1 billion in damages, including $100 million in economic losses in Central America, damage to U.S. fighter jets with a replacement cost of approximately $6 billion at Tyndall Air Force Base, and at least $6.23 billion in insurance claims in the U.S. Losses to agriculture alone exceeded $3.87 billion.

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