James Spann: Periods of rain for Alabama through Friday

WET AT TIMES THROUGH FRIDAY: Clouds have been steadily increasing across Alabama today ahead of a wave of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico. Patches of light rain are on radar over roughly the eastern half of the state at mid-afternoon. Look for cloudy and cool weather through Friday with periods of mostly light rain. Temperatures will drop into the 40s tonight and struggle to reach the low 50s Friday.

Rain amounts should be around one-half inch over the next 36 hours, and there is no risk of severe storms in a cool, stable air mass.

Rain will end late Friday night as the low pressure trough moves northeast of Alabama.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Lingering clouds Saturday morning will give way to a partly sunny afternoon; the high will be close to 60 degrees. Then, on Sunday, the sky will be partly to mostly sunny with a high in the mid 60s.

SEVERE WEATHER THREAT EARLY NEXT WEEK: A dynamic weather system will affect Alabama early next week with a risk of strong to severe thunderstorms. Temperatures will reach the low 70s Monday afternoon, making for an unstable air mass. For now, it looks like the main risk of severe storms will come late Monday afternoon into Monday night. The Storm Prediction Center has already defined that risk for parts of north and west Alabama.

At this point, it looks like all modes of severe storms could be on the table, including damaging winds, large hail and a few tornadoes. It’s still a bit early to be more specific, but keep in mind we are still in the core of our late fall/early winter tornado season in Alabama. It is not unusual to have events like this in December.

Rain will end Tuesday morning, and the day will be much colder, with temperatures holding in the 40s, possibly dropping into the 30s over far north Alabama by afternoon. The sky will clear Tuesday night, and we will be well down in the 20s by early Wednesday morning.

The next chance of rain and storms seems to be around Saturday, Dec. 21.

RAIN UPDATE: Here are rain totals for the year so far, along with departure from average:

  • Mobile — 59.61 inches (deficiency of 3.25 inches)
  • Tuscaloosa — 57.74 (surplus of 7.86)
  • Huntsville — 54.71 (surplus of 3.95)
  • Anniston — 50.25 (surplus of 3.09)
  • Birmingham — 49.08 (deficiency of 1.96)
  • Montgomery — 42.53 (deficiency of 7.5)

ON THIS DATE IN 1967: From Dec. 12 through Dec. 20, a series of snowstorms buried Flagstaff, Arizona, with nearly 85 inches of snow.

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