James Spann: Significant flooding risk for northern half of Alabama

James Spann forecasts a wet start to the work week for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

TOO MUCH RAIN: Rain is increasing across Alabama early this morning; we note a few thunderstorms embedded in the large-area mass over the western counties of the state. Soaking rains are likely through tonight, and a flash flood watch is in effect for about the northern half of the state, where 24-hour rain totals could exceed 3 inches.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center has defined a high risk of flooding across north and central Alabama through tonight. Because of the recent rains and saturated soil, flooding is a very real concern — not only flash flooding, but longer-term river flooding. If you live in a flood-prone area or along a creek or river, pay close attention to flood warnings and statements.

The Storm Prediction Center has a marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) of severe thunderstorms defined for parts of west Alabama though tonight; a few storms could produce small hail and gusty winds, but we are not expecting a major issue with severe thunderstorms through tonight.

Temperatures will be mild today, with a high generally in the mid 60s.

TUESDAY: The weather stays wet with occasional rain — perhaps not as heavy as what we will experience today, and no severe storms are expected. Again the high will be in the mid 60s.

SEVERE POTENTIAL WEDNESDAY NIGHT: The day Wednesday will be mostly cloudy and mild, with a high in the low to mid 70s; a few showers are likely as a moist air mass stays in place. Severe thunderstorms become possible statewide Wednesday night ahead of a dynamic weather system with strong wind fields. The SPC has defined an enhanced risk (level 3 of 5) for a small part of west Alabama, with a slight risk (level 2 of 5) for most of the rest of the state. Far east and southeast Alabama is under a marginal risk (level 1 of 5).

For now it looks like the main window for heavier storms will come from 6 p.m. Wednesday through 6 a.m. Thursday. If instability values can rise sufficiently, all modes of severe weather will be possible, including hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes, somewhat similar to the event we experienced last Wednesday night. And more flooding is very possible.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Rain ends early in the day Thursday; some clearing is possible by afternoon with temperatures holding in the 50s. Friday will be mostly sunny; we start the day with a low between 28 and 32; the high will be close to 50 degrees.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be dry with a partly sunny sky and a high in the 50s. Clouds increase Saturday night, and wet weather returns Sunday with periods of rain. Sunday will be fairly mild with a high in the 60s.

NEXT WEEK: The pattern continues to favor mild, wet weather for a decent part of the week as the coldest air in the nation remains out west and over Alaska.

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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