James Spann: Alabama weather clears tonight; dry weekend ahead

A STATE DIVIDED: For those in west Alabama, most of this day has been bright and sunny with temperatures in the 50s this afternoon. However, for the eastern two-thirds of the state, it has been a cloudy, cold, wet day as a cold-core upper low moves overhead. Rain continues this afternoon mainly along and east of I-65, where temperatures are only in the mid 40s.

Rain will end across east Alabama this evening, and the sky becomes clear statewide late tonight. We will drop into the low 30s early Saturday morning. We should also note some dense fog is possible over the eastern part of the state early Saturday, where rain has been falling today.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: We are forecasting sunshine in full supply across Alabama both days; the high will be in the upper 50s Saturday, followed by low 60s Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: The first half of the week will be dry with seasonal temperatures; the high will be in the low 60s Monday and Tuesday, followed by upper 60s Wednesday. Clouds will increase Thursday and Friday; some scattered rain is possible over the northern half of the state on these two days, and there is some chance rain will linger into the following day (Saturday, Nov. 23).

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the high school playoff games tonight, the weather will be clear and cold with temperatures in the 40s.

Saturday, Auburn hosts Georgia (2:30 p.m. kickoff). The sky will be sunny with a kickoff temperature near 56 degrees, falling to near 50 by the final whistle.

Alabama travels to Starkville to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs (11 a.m. kickoff). Sunny weather is expected with temperatures rising from near 54 at kickoff into the upper 50s by the fourth quarter.

UAB hosts UTEP at Legion Field Saturday afternoon (noon kickoff). A sunny sky is forecast with temperatures rising from 53 at kickoff to near 56 by the end of the game.

ON THIS DATE IN 1989: A squall line entered northwest Alabama around 3 that Wednesday afternoon, and at that point it looked like the primary issue was going to be straight-line winds along the line. Around 4:20, however, an isolated cell merged with the squall line over southwest Huntsville, near Redstone Arsenal, and within minutes an F4 tornado dropped from the sky, moving through southern Huntsville. It would destroy or damage 80 businesses, three churches, a dozen apartment buildings and more than 1,000 cars. It moved on, climbing over Garth Mountain, demolishing Jones Valley Elementary School and destroying 259 homes in the Jones Valley area. The tornado killed 21 people and injured 463. Unfortunately, there was no tornado warning until several minutes after the twister touched down; this was before Doppler Radar was in operational use in Alabama.

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