James Spann: Coldest air so far this season arrives in Alabama Thursday

WET WEDNESDAY: Rain has tapered off over the western half of the state this afternoon after a big soaking. Totals so far include:

  • Rock Creek — 2.66 inches
  • Bessemer — 2.6 inches
  • Remlap — 2.06 inches
  • Coker — 1.35 inches
  • Weaver — 1.35 inches
  • Arley — 1.23 inches

There were some scattered flooding issues, and most of the rain is now over northeast Alabama.

TONIGHT: The Storm Prediction Center maintains a low-end, marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) of severe storms for all of Alabama tonight and early Thursday morning as a cold front approaches.

Severe weather parameters are not impressive; instability values are low and lapse rates are weak. But some of the storms along the front could produce gusty winds, and there is a small chance of a brief, isolated tornado. The window for heavier storms along the front will come from 2 a.m. until 8 a.m.

HALLOWEEN: The coldest air so far this season blows into Alabama Thursday. The cold air arrives across northwest Alabama before daybreak, but for places like Birmingham and Anniston, temperatures at sunrise will be in the low 70s. Temperatures will drop a good 30 degrees by late morning; most communities will be hovering in the 40- to 45-degree range during the afternoon with a brisk northwest wind that will make it feel colder.

Lingering rain showers will end by mid-afternoon, and the weather will be dry Thursday evening for the trick-or-treaters. But it will be cold and blustery, with temperatures between 37 and 42 degrees and a northwest wind of 7-14 mph.

FRIDAY: A freeze watch has been issued for roughly the northern third of Alabama for Friday morning. The watch is in effect for areas north of a line from Millport to Birmingham to Roanoke.

Temperatures Friday morning will drop into the 28- to 34-degree range over the northern half of the state with a clear sky. The day will be sunny with a high in the mid 50s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Look for sunny, cool days and clear, cold nights Saturday and Sunday. Highs will be 55-60 and lows 28-34 both mornings with lots of frost.

NEXT WEEK: The week looks mostly dry with a slow warming trend; the high will be in the upper 60s by Tuesday and Wednesday. For now it looks like the next chance of rain could come on Saturday, Nov. 9, but it is way too early for an Alabama/LSU game forecast.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: It will be clear and cold for the high school games in the state Friday night; temperatures will fall into the 40s.

Saturday evening, Auburn hosts Ole Miss (kickoff at 6). The sky will be clear with temperatures falling from near 54 at kickoff into the 40s by halftime.

UAB travels to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers (6 p.m. kickoff). The weather there will be clear and cold, 51 degrees at kickoff. Temperatures will fall through the 40s, possibly reaching the upper 30s by the final whistle.

Jacksonville State is also on the road in Tennessee, playing UT-Martin Saturday (2 p.m. Central kickoff). The sky will be sunny with temperatures in the mid 50s during the game.

ON THIS DATE IN 1991: The Perfect Storm, also known as the No-Name Storm, reached maximum strength with a low pressure of 972 mb and sustained winds of 69 mph. In the middle of the storm, the fishing vessel Andrea Gail sank, killing her crew of six and inspiring the book, and later movie, “The Perfect Storm.” Off the shore of New York’s Long Island, an Air National Guard helicopter ran out of fuel and crashed; four members of its crew were rescued and one was killed. Two people died after their boat sank off Staten Island. High waves swept two people to their deaths, one in Rhode Island and one in Puerto Rico, and another person was blown off a bridge to his death.

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