James Spann: Flash flood watch continues for Alabama

RADAR CHECK: A band of steady, light to moderate rain is on radar at daybreak from near Aliceville to Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Anniston. Otherwise the sky is cloudy with temperatures generally in the 60s. A flash flood warning has been issued for the southern half of Tuscaloosa County until 9:15 a.m.

National Weather Service offices in Huntsville and Birmingham continue a flash flood watch for roughly the northern half of the state today, but the good news is that the rain won’t be as heavy or as widespread as Monday. Additional rain amounts over the next 24 hours should be around one-half inch to 1 inch. Creeks, streams and rivers remain swollen and in some cases out of the their banks.

The Storm Prediction Center has defined a low-end marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) of severe storms today for parts of central Alabama. A few storms this afternoon could produce gusty winds or small hail, but the overall severe weather threat is low.

SEVERE STORMS POSSIBLE WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Wednesday will be mild and breezy with a few showers possible, but a decent part of the day will be dry. Temperatures will rise into the low 70s by afternoon ahead of an approaching cold front.

That front will push a band of strong, possibly severe thunderstorms into Alabama Wednesday night. Models continue to suggest low surface-based instability values over the state, which should limit the overall threat. The SPC has removed the enhanced risk but maintains a slight risk (level 2 of 5) for much of the state Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.

TIMING: The window for strong to severe storms will open up around 9 Wednesday night over west Alabama. The better chance of a few severe storms could very well hold off until after midnight for Birmingham and points east. The threat will wind down early Thursday morning.

THREATS: Heavier storms could produce hail, damaging winds and possibly a brief tornado or two. For now the overall tornado threat looks fairly low, but certainly not zero.

RAIN: Rain amounts of one-half to 1 inch are likely Wednesday night, and with the ground totally saturated some flooding issues could develop overnight.

Rain and storms will end early in the day Thursday, and we could see some clearing late in the day with a high in the 50s.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Friday will be sunny and cold. We start the day in the mid to upper 20s in many areas, and the high will be in the upper 40s. Sunny weather continues Saturday; once again we will deal with a subfreezing start (most places will start the day in the 20s), followed by a high in the mid 50s. Clouds increase Sunday, and some rain could reach the state by late afternoon. The high Sunday will be in the low 60s.

NEXT WEEK: The pattern favors mild and generally unsettled weather; highs will be in the 60s and there will be some risk of rain daily, especially during the first half of the week.

TOO MUCH RAIN: Here are some rain totals Monday from the ABC 33/40 Skywatchers:

  • Woodstock — 4.92 inches
  • Vestavia Hills — 4.84
  • Coker — 4.4
  • Bibbville — 4.31
  • Crestwood — 4.13
  • Bessemer — 3.74
  • Mountain Brook — 3.14
  • Jemison — 3.12
  • Grayson Valley — 2.84
  • Remlap — 2.43
  • Millport — 2.07
  • Rainbow City — 1.77

ON THIS DATE IN 1983: The “Megalopolitan blockbuster snowstorm” hit the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England. Snowfall up to 25 inches fell at Allentown, Pennsylvania. Snowfall of 35 inches occurred in parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia at Glen Cary. Windsor Locks, Connecticut, recorded a record 19 inches in 12 hours. A ship sank off the Virginia/Maryland coast, killing 33. There were 46 total storm-related fatalities.

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