James Spann: Warmer days ahead for Alabama, with only isolated showers

THIS AFTERNOON: While we have clouds over far north Alabama and the Tennessee Valley, most of Alabama is enjoying a sunny, pleasant May day with temperatures in the 70s. Readings are in the 60s over the northern quarter of the state because of the clouds there. The sky will be mostly fair tonight with a low in the 50s.

WEDNESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY: Highs go into the low to mid-80s, and on each day we will experience a mix of sun and clouds. A few isolated showers could pop up Thursday and Friday, but most communities will stay dry.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: We expect highs in the mid to upper 80s Saturday and Sunday with partly sunny days and fair nights. We can’t rule out a few showers, but they should remain few and far between as an upper ridge builds across the Gulf Coast region.

NEXT WEEK: We expect highs in the 88- to 91-degree range through much of next week and the overall pattern remains dry, although there could be a day or two with a few small pop-up showers.

TROPICS: The National Hurricane Center expects a tropical or subtropical low to form just northeast of the Bahamas over the weekend; they give it a 50% chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm. Most likely this won’t impact the U.S. East Coast directly, but it could bring rough surf and the danger of rip tides.

RAIN UPDATE: Birmingham’s rain total for the year so far is 38.83 inches, and the surplus is 18.07 inches. While most communities across the northern half of the state have a similar total, the southern counties of Alabama are very dry. At Mobile, the total for the year is only 14.16 inches, and the deficiency is 9.29 inches. Most of Mobile and Baldwin counties are in a moderate drought.

ON THIS DATE IN 1997: A towering F1 tornado ripped its way through the middle of Miami, Biscayne Bay and Miami Beach right after lunch, smashing cars and windows, tossing trees skyward and scaring the dickens out of thousands of people.

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