James Spann: Very mild, mostly dry day for Alabama

James Spann forecasts Alabama’s warmest day of 2020 so far for many from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

WARM MARCH DAY: Clouds across Alabama this morning should give way to a partly sunny sky this afternoon; we project a high between 75 and 78 degrees. In fact, today will be the warmest day so far this year for many communities; the warmest day so far in 2020 at Birmingham was Feb. 12, when the high was 76. We could beat that this afternoon. A shower or two is certainly possible, but they will be few and far between.

To the north, a significant round of severe thunderstorms is likely by afternoon in a zone from northeast Texas through much of Kentucky and Tennessee; the Storm Prediction Center has an enhanced risk (level 3 of 5) defined for parts of that region, where a few tornadoes are possible. The storms will drift southward into Alabama late tonight, but they will be weakening by then. The SPC has a marginal risk (level 1 of 5) up for the northern third of Alabama tonight; a few storms could produce strong, gusty winds after midnight.

FRIDAY: Cooler air will filter into north Alabama, making for a tricky temperature forecast. We start the day in the mid 60s, but temperatures will likely fall slowly into the 50s over the northern third of the state. The sky will be cloudy, and some light rain is possible at times. The weather stays mild and dry for south Alabama.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will feature a mix of sun and clouds with a high around 70; the risk of a shower for any given spot is relatively small. On Sunday we’ll have intervals of sunshine and a high near 70 with some potential for scattered showers.

NEXT WEEK: Mild, showery weather is the story. Highs will be mostly in the 70s, and there will be some risk of showers daily. However, the rain won’t be especially heavy or widespread, and we see no signals of flooding or severe thunderstorms for now.

ON THIS DATE IN 1993: The generational “Blizzard of ’93” was underway. All 67 Alabama counties had measurable snow; winds gusted to nearly hurricane force on ridges with white-out conditions. Snow amounts of 1 to 2 feet were common over the northern half of the state, with drifts to 4 feet. There was a lot of eerie green lightning followed by the muffled sound of thunder during the peak of the storm. With the atmosphere overloaded with big snowflakes, part of the sound of thunder was absorbed. Some had no power for more than a week. We forecast 6 to 16 inches of snow going into the event, but many didn’t listen since it was mid-March, the flowers were blooming and the high on March 10, 1993, two days before the blizzard, was 75.

The storm dropped 13 inches at the Birmingham International Airport, where the records are kept, and almost 2 feet of snow across parts of southern Jefferson and northern Shelby counties. The heaviest snow across the Southeast was recorded at Newfound Gap, where U.S. 441 crosses the Tennessee and North Carolina border, with 5 feet.

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