James Spann: Cool afternoon for mid-May in Alabama

COOL MAY DAY: Temperatures are only in the mid-60s across parts of north Alabama this afternoon, almost 20 degrees below average for the middle of May. An upper low over Tennessee has pushed clouds into the northern half of the state, keeping temperatures down. But there is a decent amount of sunshine over the southern half of the state, where mid-80s are being reported. The radar is very quiet, showing basically nothing over all of Alabama at mid-afternoon. We will keep the chance of scattered showers in the forecast for north Alabama this evening, but most places will be dry.

REST OF THE WEEK: We won’t see much change Wednesday; for most places the high will be in the mid to upper 70s with a partly sunny sky and some risk of widely scattered afternoon showers. Then, we warm into the low 80s Thursday and mid-80s Friday as the upper low weakens and lifts out. The air becomes a little more unstable with the warmer days, and we will have the chance of random, scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms on these two days. Odds of any one spot getting wet will be in the 20% to 30% range.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Look for partly sunny, warm days and mostly fair nights Saturday and Sunday with scattered showers and thunderstorms possible, mostly between 1 and 9 p.m. The chance of any one spot getting wet both days will be around 30% to 40%. This weather is very typical for late May in Alabama, and you will hear this forecast pretty much daily during the summer. The rain won’t be widespread, but some could see a heavy downpour. There’s no way of knowing in advance exactly when and where the showers will form; you just have to watch radar trends.

NEXT WEEK: Looks like a warm week with highs between 87 and 90 degrees on most afternoons. Days will be partly sunny, again with the risk of scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms.

ARTHUR: Arthur is now a post-tropical system in the Atlantic, well east of the North Carolina coast. The remnant circulation will loop harmlessly in the Atlantic in the coming days as it dissipates. The National Hurricane Center has issued the last advisory on the system.

The official start of the hurricane season is June 1. After Arthur, the names will be Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred.

ON THIS DATE IN 1780: This was the infamous “dark day” in New England tradition. At noon, it was nearly as dark as night. Chickens went to roost, and many people were fearful of divine wrath. The “dark day” was caused by forest fires to the west of New England.

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