James Spann: Flooding risk remains high for Alabama tonight

FLOODING CONTINUES: Soaking rains continue to fall across the northern half of Alabama this afternoon, and flash flood warnings remain in effect for at least a dozen counties. A flash flood watch will remain in effect overnight as the big rain event continues to unfold. Some spots have already seen more than 3 inches of rain so far today, and additional amounts of 1-2 inches are likely tonight. Some roads are impassable from flooding, and if you come across a flooded roadway, remember: Turn around, don’t drown!

In addition to the flooding, the Storm Prediction Center maintains a marginal risk of severe storms for west Alabama this evening, but the overall severe weather threat is low because of a rain-cooled, stable air mass in place.

TUESDAY: We will forecast a good chance of occasional showers, but the rain won’t be as heavy or as widespread as today. Still, with the soil totally saturated, some flooding can’t be ruled out. Most creeks, streams and rivers across north Alabama will remain out of the their banks. Otherwise, Tuesday will be cloudy with a high in the mid 60s.

SEVERE STORMS POSSIBLE WEDNESDAY NIGHT: The day Wednesday will be mild and breezy. A few showers are possible, and the high will be in the low to mid 70s. An approaching cold front will bring a band of strong to severe thunderstorms into the state Wednesday night and early Thursday; the SPC maintains a risk of severe storms for most of the state, including an enhanced risk (level 3 of 5) for a few counties in west Alabama.

The dynamics look impressive with this system (strong wind fields, etc.), but there are still questions involving the thermodynamics (instability). For now, it looks sufficient for a few severe storms from 6 p.m. Wednesday through 6 a.m. Thursday. Heavier storms will be capable of producing hail, damaging winds and possibly a few tornadoes. We will be much more specific about this threat Tuesday.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Rain ends early in the day Thursday; we could see some clearing by afternoon as drier air works into the state. The high will be in the 50s. Friday will be cold and dry; we start the day in the 27-to 32-degree range, followed by a high in the upper 40s despite sunshine in full supply.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday looks dry; the sky will be partly sunny with a high in the mid 50s. Clouds increase late in the day, and periods of rain look likely Saturday night into Sunday. Sunday’s high will be in the low 60s.

NEXT WEEK: The weather looks mild and unsettled, with some risk of rain each day at least Monday through Wednesday with highs mostly in the 60s. We could even reach the low 70s on a day or two.

ON THIS DATE IN 1981: An EF-2 tornado moved through Bay Minette, striking the middle school shortly after the school day started. The school’s gymnasium was severely damaged and 62 people were hurt, including 44 students.

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