James Spann: Alabama weather improves today; severe storms likely for Easter

James Spann forecasts a sunny day for Alabama after storms pass from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

STORMY START: Strong storms are over west Alabama as I write this post just before daybreak; severe thunderstorm warnings were required for parts of Pickens, Tuscaloosa, Greene, Hale and Sumter counties. These storms will weaken soon, and rain will end by mid-morning as drier air works into the state. The sky becomes sunny today with a high between 75 and 80 degrees for most communities. The average high for Birmingham on April 9 is 73.

FRIDAY/SATURDAY: Look for mostly sunny days and fair, cool nights. The high will be in the mid 60s Friday, followed by a 70-degree maximum Saturday. Colder pockets will visit the 30s early Saturday morning with some potential for scattered, light frost; lows will be in the 37- to 44-degree range. Clouds will increase late Saturday into Saturday night.

EASTER SEVERE WEATHER THREAT: All ingredients are coming together for the potential for severe thunderstorms across Alabama and the Deep South on Sunday. The Storm Prediction Center has already defined a high-end 30% risk of severe storms Sunday for the southern half of the state, with a 15% probability up to the Tennessee state line.

Ingredients for a potential severe thunderstorm outbreak appear likely to come together Sunday into Sunday night. An ejecting shortwave trough is forecast to take on a neutral to somewhat negative tilt by Sunday afternoon as it moves quickly east-northeastward across the Southeast states. Rich low-level moisture will be drawn inland from the Gulf of Mexico in advance of a deepening surface low that will move from the mid-Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley by Monday morning.

We expect a very favorable environment for organized convection, including the potential for long-track supercells and a corresponding strong tornado risk. Very strong low- to mid-level flow fields will also support widespread damaging wind potential.

For now it looks like the best chance of severe thunderstorms in Alabama will come Sunday afternoon and Sunday night. Now is the time to be sure your NOAA Weather Radio is programmed properly with a fresh battery. Be sure Wireless Emergency Alerts on your phone are enabled, and have the free ABC 33/40 app on your phone as well. Know your tornado action plan, and in that safe place have helmets, portable air horns and hard-soled shoes for everyone. If you live in a mobile home, know where you are going and the quickest way of getting there. Be prepared; have a plan. This is April in Alabama and these kind of days can easily happen this time of the year.

NEXT WEEK: The weather looks generally dry through the week with below-average temperatures. We will likely see one or two mornings with potential for a late-season freeze and frost across north and central Alabama. Growers will need to keep a close eye on temperature forecasts.

ON THIS DATE IN 1947: An estimated F5 tornado struck Woodward, Oklahoma, during the late evening, killing 95 people and causing $6 million damage. The tornado, one to two miles in width and traveling at a speed of 50 mph, killed 167 people along its 221-mile path from Texas into Kansas, injured 980 others and caused nearly $10 million damage.

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For more weather news and information from James Spann and his team, visit AlabamaWx.

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