James Spann: Alabama weather stays unsettled, wet through Saturday

RADAR CHECK: A large mass of rain covers most of north and west Alabama this afternoon, north of a warm front over south Alabama. This has been a soaking rain event; here are some totals since midnight:

  • Rainbow City — 5.38 inches
  • Black Creek — 4.64 inches
  • Moody — 4.2 inches
  • Montevallo — 3.18 inches
  • Weaver — 2.45 inches

Most of the rain tonight will continue over the northern and western counties. A few severe storms can’t be ruled out over parts of west and southwest Alabama tonight, but for most places it will be just good old-fashioned rain.

SATURDAY: The warm front will move up into far southern Tennessee and a very moist air mass will remain over Alabama. It won’t rain all day, but occasional showers and thunderstorms are likely. The Storm Prediction Center has introduced a marginal risk (level 1 of 5) for most of the state, with the exception of the Tennessee Valley.

A few of the thunderstorms Saturday could produce strong, gusty winds, and a brief, isolated tornado or two are not totally out of the question. Additional rain amounts of around 1 inch are likely, and flooding is not expected to be a major issue. The day will be rather windy, with south winds averaging 10-20 mph along with higher gusts.

Showers and storms will end from west to east during the late afternoon and night, and by midnight all of the rain will be out of the state.

SUNDAY AND NEXT WEEK: The weather will be dry and mild Sunday through Tuesday, with highs in the 70s. A cold front will bring rain back to the state Wednesday, followed by the coolest air so far this season Thursday and Friday. Some north Alabama communities could see their first freeze of the season by Friday morning.

TROPICS: Tropical Depression 17 in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to become a post-tropical system tonight as it merges with a cold front. It will still produce gale-force winds tonight near the Louisiana coast. The system will enhance rain tonight and Saturday morning over Louisiana and Mississippi.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: Rain is likely for high school games tonight generally north and west of Birmingham. Temperatures will be in the 60s.

For Saturday’s Magic City Classic at Legion Field in Birmingham (Alabama State vs. Alabama A&M, 2:30 p.m. kickoff), the sky will be cloudy with occasional showers. A thunderstorm is possible, but there will be breaks in the rain.Temperatures will be in the low to mid 70s, with gusty south winds of 12-25 mph.

Auburn travels to Baton Rouge Saturday to take on LSU (kickoff at 2:30 p.m. Central). There is high confidence now that the rain will be over there early in the day. The sky will become partly sunny during the game; temperatures will be around 70 degrees.

It is homecoming at the University of Alabama Saturday; the Tide will host Arkansas at Bryant-Denny Stadium (6 p.m. kickoff). Models are now showing the cold front coming through at a faster pace, and there is a chance the rain will be over by kickoff. We will still mention the chance of lingering showers during the first quarter, but there is a very reasonable chance the game will be dry. Temperatures will be in the upper 60s.

Jacksonville State will host Murray State Saturday (3 p.m. kickoff). It will be cloudy and windy with occasional showers and temperatures between 68 and 72.

ON THIS DATE IN 2008: A storm packing winds of more than 60 mph hit central Alberta, Canada. In Edmonton, the strongest October wind ever recorded reached 64 mph, cutting power to 4,000. The winds blew free sheet metal, parts of billboards, garbage cans and pieces of trees around the city.

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