James Spann: Rain for Alabama at times through tonight

RADAR CHECK: Showers cover much of north and west Alabama this afternoon; we note a few thunderstorms over the Tennessee Valley, but they are well below severe limits. Still, the Storm Prediction Center maintains a low-end, marginal risk of severe thunderstorms for north Alabama through the evening. There could be a stronger storm with small hail and gusty winds, but the overall risk is very low as the main dynamic support is lifting far to the north of Alabama.

Rain amounts over the next 12 hours will be one-half inch to 1 inch for most of north and central Alabama. Rain will end after midnight.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Drier, cooler air will slip into north Alabama Saturday; most of the state will be dry, with just a few isolated showers for far south Alabama. The sky becomes partly sunny, and the high will be in the mid to upper 60s. Clouds will increase Saturday night, and the surface boundary over the southern counties of the state will move northward as a warm front. Expect periods of rain Sunday with temperatures in the 60s. Rain amounts will be around one-half inch.

NEXT WEEK: We will maintain the chance of some rain at times Monday, and showers are possible Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday night as a compact disturbance passes north of the state. The latter half of the week looks mostly dry and warm; we could approach record levels Thursday with highs in the mid to upper 80s. On the positive side, there are still no signs of any severe thunderstorms or flooding for Alabama over the next seven to 10 days.

ON THIS DATE IN 1948: An F3 tornado tracked through Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, just before 10 p.m., destroying 54 aircraft, including 17 transport planes valued at $500,000 apiece. The total damage amounted to more than $10 million, a record for the state that stood until the massive tornado outbreak of May 3, 1999. Maj. Ernest W. Fawbush and Capt. Robert C. Miller were ordered to see if operationally forecasting tornadoes was possible. The tornado prompted the first attempt at tornado forecasting. Forecasters at Tinker believed conditions were again favorable for tornadoes and issued the first recorded tornado forecast. At 6 p.m. on March 26, a forecast tornado occurred, crossing the prepared base, and the damage was minimized. The successful, albeit somewhat lucky, forecast paved the way for tornado forecasts to be issued by the U.S. Weather Bureau after a lengthy ban.

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