James Spann: A few showers, storms for Alabama today

James Spann forecasts some stormy weather for Alabama in next few days from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

WET AT TIMES: Today will be a mostly cloudy day across Alabama with potential for some rain at times; there might even be a strong thunderstorm this afternoon in spots. The Storm Prediction Center maintains a low-end, marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) of severe thunderstorms for a part of west and southwest Alabama later today.

Heavier storms could produce small hail and gusty winds, but the overall threat is low. Look for a high in the mid to upper 70s today; the average high for April 7 at Birmingham is 72.

WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY: Wednesday will be a warm day; we project a high in the 82- to 85-degree range with a mix of sun and clouds. The air becomes unstable, and a few scattered showers and storms are possible during the afternoon and evening, but much of the day will be dry. Then, late Wednesday night, a cold front will approach. This will bring a band of showers and strong storms into the state after midnight and into early Thursday morning. The SPC has defined a slight risk (level 2 out of 5) of severe storms for the Tennessee Valley of north Alabama, with a marginal risk down to Greensboro, Clanton and Lafayette. This outlook runs through 7 a.m. Thursday.

The main window for heavier thunderstorms will come from midnight Wednesday night through 6 a.m. Thursday. The main threats will come from hail and strong straight-line winds; the tornado threat is very low, but not zero.

During the day Thursday, the sky becomes partly to mostly sunny as dry air works into the state; the high will be close to 70 degrees.

FRIDAY/SATURDAY: Friday will be a sunny, cool day with a high in the 60s. Colder pockets will drop into the 30s early Saturday morning with a chance of some scattered light frost; lows will range from 36 to 44 degrees. Saturday will be dry with a high in the upper 60s; clouds will begin to increase by afternoon ahead of a developing weather system to the west.

EASTER SUNDAY: We now have much better agreement with the global models; Sunday looks like an active weather day with potential for both strong thunderstorms and heavy rain. This could very well be a day with a risk of severe thunderstorms, but right now it is too early to call with questions concerning the thermodynamic environment. The high Sunday will be in the 70s, and rain amounts of 1-2 inches are likely.

NEXT WEEK: Much cooler air rolls into the state for the first half of the week; many north Alabama communities won’t get out of the 50s Monday, and we will have potential for another late-season freeze or frost early Tuesday morning.

ON THIS DATE IN 1926: Lightning started a disastrous oil fire at San Luis Obispo, California, which lasted for five days, spread over 900 acres and burned more than six million barrels of oil. Flames reached 1,000 feet, and the temperature of the fire was estimated at 2,500 degrees. The fire spawned thousands of whirlwinds, with hundreds the size of small tornadoes. One vortex traveled one mile to the east-northeast of the blaze, destroying a small farmhouse and killing two people. Damage totaled $15 million.

ON THIS DATE IN 1980: Severe thunderstorms spawned tornadoes that ripped through central Arkansas. The storms also produced high winds and baseball-sized hail. Five counties were declared disaster areas by President Jimmy Carter. A tornado causing F3 damage also affected St. Louis and St. Charles counties in Missouri, producing $2.5 million in damage.

ON THIS DATE IN 2006: Severe thunderstorms produced more than a dozen tornadoes across Alabama, including EF-1 twisters at Gardendale and Roebuck.

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