James Spann: Drier day for Alabama Wednesday, then more rain Thursday

WET IS THE WORD: Rain is widespread over the northern half of Alabama this afternoon; a flash flood watch is in effect for many counties because of the saturated soil conditions. There are a few embedded thunderstorms within the large rain mass, and the Storm Prediction Center maintains a low-end, marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) of severe storms for much of the state through this evening.

Some of the heavier storms could produce small hail and gusty winds this evening. The chance of a brief tornado is very low, but not zero. Periods of rain will continue through the night before tapering off early Wednesday morning.

Wednesday will be mostly cloudy and cooler, with a high in the mid 50s; some rain is possible, but it won’t be as heavy or widespread as today as a surface front settles into south Alabama and stalls.

A wave of low pressure forms on the front and will spread a cold rain over Alabama late Wednesday night and on Thursday. Temperatures will be only in the 40- to 45-degree range as the rain falls over north Alabama Thursday, and a few patches of light snow or sleet are possible near the Tennessee border during the day. If we happen to see wintry precipitation over far north Alabama we expect no impact, as surface temperatures will be above freezing. The rain ends Thursday evening as a good push of dry air rolls into the state.

Additional rain amounts of 1-2 inches are likely between now and Thursday night, with isolated 3-inch totals possible.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Friday and Saturday will be dry with sunshine in full supply both days. Mornings will be cold; we project lows between 26 and 32 Saturday and Sunday mornings. The high will be near 50 Friday, followed by mid to upper 50s Saturday. Clouds will increase Sunday, and rain will likely move back into the state Sunday night.

NEXT WEEK: Rain ends during the day Monday, but another rain-producing system is due in here Wednesday, followed by sharply colder air toward the end of the week.

CPC OUTLOOK: The new eight-to-14-day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center shows below-average temperatures likely for much of the contiguous United States Feb. 26-March 3.

ON THIS DATE IN 1992: A thunderstorm spawned an unusually strong F4 tornado for so far north for the time of the year in southern Van Wert County in Ohio. The tornado touched down just west of U.S. Route 127 and traveled northeastward for about 3 miles. One house was completely leveled, and nine others severely damaged. Six people were injured.

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