CLOUDY, MILD WEATHER TODAY: Moist air has returned to Alabama; we have light to moderate rain falling over about the northern half of the state this morning. Look for a high around 70 degrees today; the sky will stay cloudy with some rain at times. But it won’t rain all day, and there is no risk of severe storms.
SEVERE STORMS POSSIBLE LATE WEDNESDAY/WEDNESDAY NIGHT: The Storm Prediction Center has expanded the slight risk (level 2 of 5) to include areas of Alabama south of a line from Winfield to Arab and as far east as Pell City, Tuskegee and Eufaula. A marginal risk (level 1 of 5) covers the rest of north and east Alabama.
A fairly dynamic weather system with strong wind fields will interact with an unstable air mass to set the stage for active storms, mostly Wednesday night. There is some chance an organized thunderstorm complex over south Alabama and along the Gulf Coast will cut off the better inflow to the northern half of the state, reducing the severe weather threat there, but it remains to be seen whether that happens.
TIMING: The main window for strong to severe thunderstorms will come from roughly 4 p.m. Wednesday through 6 a.m. Thursday. The core threat will be Wednesday night, with the risk of severe storms lingering past midnight.
THREATS: Stronger storms will be capable of producing small hail, damaging straight-line winds and a few tornadoes.
RAIN: Rain amounts between now and Thursday will be in the 2- to 3-inch range for most of the state; some localized flooding is possible with the heavier thunderstorms Wednesday night.
Be sure you have a good way of hearing severe weather warnings if they are needed. Know your safe place and have helmets for everyone there. And if you live in a mobile home, you can’t stay there during a tornado warning. Know where you are going, and the quickest way to get there.
THURSDAY/FRIDAY: The risk of severe storms will linger into Thursday morning over the southern corner of the state (places such as Dothan and Ozark), but for the rest of Alabama the day will be cloudy and noticeably cooler with periods of mostly light rain. Temperatures will fall into the low to mid 50s and stay there all day. Rain ends Thursday night, and Friday will be dry and cool with a mix of sun and clouds; the high will be in the mid 50s.
THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The next wave will bring clouds and some light rain to the northern half of Alabama Saturday and Saturday night; the high will be in the mid 50s. Sunday will be dry, pleasant and partly sunny with a high around 60 degrees.
NEXT WEEK: Monday will be dry and mild with a high in the 60s. Then the rest of the week looks rather unsettled with mostly cloudy days and occasional showers. Highs will remain in the 60s, about 10 degrees above average for the middle part of February. The Climate Prediction Center outlook for Feb. 11-17 continues to show temperatures above average here, with very cold air over the western half of the U.S.
ON THIS DATE IN 1995: A massive nor’easter pounded areas from the southern Mid-Atlantic to northern New England. It would be the only significant storm in the 1994-95 winter season. More than 20 inches of snow buried parts of upstate New York. Wind chills dropped as cold as 40 degrees below zero. Behind the storm, arctic air crossing the relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes produced intense lake effect squalls for nearly two weeks, from the 4th through the 14th. Snowfall totals for the storm ranged from near 2 to 7 feet. At one point during the storm east of Lake Ontario, snow was falling at the incredible rate of 5 inches an hour.
STORM SPOTTER TRAINING: Our annual storm spotter training is this Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Hoover Met. It begins at 9:30 and there is no cost. We will offer both the basic and advanced training sessions; we expect to wrap up by 2:30. No need to register; just show up with a curious mind. We need more trained storm spotters. Help us make the warning process better.
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For more weather news and information from James Spann and his team, visit AlabamaWx.