James Spann: Alabama stays dry through Thursday

COLD EARLY DECEMBER DAY: Temperatures are only in the 38- to 44-degree range over the northern half of Alabama this afternoon; the average high for Dec. 2 at Birmingham is 59. The sky is mostly cloudy over the northern third of the state, with a good supply of sunshine for the southern counties. Tonight will be fair and cold; we project a low between 25 and 30 degrees for most places early Tuesday morning.

MIDWEEK: Dry weather is the story Tuesday through Thursday with a warming trend. Look for mostly sunny days and fair nights. The high will be close to 50 Tuesday; then we rise to near 60 degrees Wednesday and low 60s Thursday.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: A wave will bring a few periods of rain to the state Friday; moisture will be limited, so rain amounts should be one-half inch or less for most communities. Temperatures will be in the 50s and the air will be stable, so I doubt if we hear any thunder — certainly no risk of severe storms. Saturday will be dry with a partly sunny sky and a high in the low 60s. Moisture levels begin to rise Sunday, but for now it looks like the showers will be confined to the southern quarter of the state. The high Sunday will be in the low 60s with an increase in clouds.

NEXT WEEK: A cold front will bring rain and possibly a thunderstorm to the state Monday, followed by noticeably colder air for Tuesday and Wednesday.

WELCOME TO DECEMBER: This time of year, you can have a very wide range of weather conditions in Alabama. We almost always have warm spells; since 1900, December temperatures have exceeded 75 degrees in 27 of 119 years. Our warmest December day came on Dec. 7, 1951, when the high in Birmingham was 80 degrees. The high in Birmingham Christmas Eve 1964 was 77 degrees. Kids were playing in shorts the following Christmas morning; the high that day was 72. On the other hand, the coldest December temperature on record at Birmingham is 1 degree, recorded on Dec. 13, 1962 and Dec. 23, 1989. And don’t forget severe storms and tornadoes are possible this month as well — part of our November/December “second” season in Alabama.

ON THIS DATE IN 1959: Between Nov. 19 and Dec. 2, an estimated 20 inches of rain fell near the town of Frejus on the French Riviera. This rain caused the Malpasset Dam to collapse, which sent a 130-foot high wall of water into the towns of Malpasset and Bozon. The wall of water 10 feet tall reached Frejus, flooding the western half of the city. The dam breach killed 423 people and caused $68 million in damages.

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