James Spann: Cloudy and cooler for Alabama, with some light rain

James Spann has the midweek forecast for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

ON THE MAPS: A cold front has drifted into far south Alabama this morning, but clouds persist statewide and light rain is falling in the cool air north of the front. Clouds will hang tough through the day, and we will mention the chance of scattered light rain through the afternoon, but the rain won’t be as heavy or as widespread as yesterday. Temperatures won’t get past the 50s over the northern half of the state.

A wave of low pressure forms along the stalled front to the south tonight, and rain will become widespread after midnight into the daytime Thursday. It will be a cold rain; temperatures will hover in the low 40s over north Alabama most of the day. Thermal profiles suggest some light snow is possible over the Tennessee Valley Thursday morning, especially near the Tennessee state line. If snow does fall we expect little impact, with surface temperatures expected to be above freezing. The best chance of any light accumulation on grassy areas will be over southern Tennessee.

Rain ends late Thursday, and the sky clears Thursday night as a nice push of dry air moves into the state. Rain amounts from now through Thursday night will be around 1 inch for most of Alabama.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Look for sunshine in full supply Saturday and Sunday with cold mornings; lows will be in the 25- to 32-degree range. The high  will be in the upper 40s Friday, followed by upper 50s Saturday. Clouds will slowly increase Sunday, and some rain could reach Alabama Sunday night.

NEXT WEEK: Rain is likely Monday; on Tuesday, the best chance of rain shifts into the southern part of the state. More rain is possible statewide Wednesday, followed by colder and drier air Thursday and Friday.

RAIN UPDATE: These are official totals for February so far (from NWS/FAA reporting sites)

  • Tuscaloosa — 13.32 inches
  • Birmingham — 11.26 inches
  • Calera — 10.67 inches
  • Anniston — 9.98 inches
  • Muscle Shoals — 9.74 inches
  • Huntsville — 8.9 inches
  • Montgomery — 7.33 inches
  • Mobile — 4.02 inches

ON THIS DATE IN 1884: The 1884 Enigma outbreak is thought to be among the largest and most widespread tornado outbreaks in American history, striking on Feb. 19-20, 1884. As the precise number of tornadoes as well as fatalities incurred during the outbreak are unknown, the nickname “Enigma outbreak” has come to be associated with the storm. Nonetheless, an inspection of newspaper reports and governmental studies published in the aftermath reveals tornadoes (or, more likely, long-track tornado families) striking Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, with an estimation of at least 50 tornadoes. One tornado moved from Oxmoor, in what is now the Homewood area, northeast through the Cahaba Valley. The most intense damage was in the industrial area of Leeds, where new, well-constructed homes were destroyed, some of them swept away along with their foundations. This tornado killed 13 people. Another large tornado passed north of Piedmont, near Goshen, killing 30.

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