James Spann: Occasional showers, storms for Alabama through Thursday

James Spann has the midweek forecast for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

UNSETTLED PATTERN CONTINUES: A moist, unstable air mass remains parked over our state this morning, and we have rain falling over a decent part of central Alabama. Occasional showers and thunderstorms will remain likely through Thursday, and the Storm Prediction Center maintains a marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) of severe thunderstorms for roughly the southern two-thirds of the state today and tonight.

Like recent days, heavier thunderstorms this afternoon and early tonight could produce small hail and strong, gusty winds.

Highs will be around 80 degrees today and Thursday because of clouds and showers; the average high for Birmingham on June 24 is 89. Showers should thin out by Friday as the air becomes a little drier; the sky will be partly sunny with a high in the mid 80s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Looks like pretty classic late June weather Saturday and Sunday, partly sunny days with the usual risk of random, scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Odds of any one spot getting wet both days will be in the 40% to 50% range, and highs will remain in the mid to upper 80s.

NEXT WEEK: Warm, humid weather continues. Each day will feature a mix of sun and clouds, and scattered showers and thunderstorms will remain possible. Highs will be in the 85- to 90-degree range most afternoons.

HELLO DOLLY, GOODBYE DOLLY: Tropical Storm Dolly formed Tuesday in the Atlantic, well off the U.S. coast. It has already been downgraded to a tropical depression and should dissipate Thursday with no threat to land. The rest of the Atlantic basin remains quiet.

SAL LAYER: The dry, dusty Saharan Air Layer (SAL) coming off the African continent is moving up into the Gulf Coast region. It will be in place across the Deep South for a few days, giving us potential for some vivid sunrise and sunset views due to the scattering of sunlight. The dry air also means no risk of tropical storms or hurricanes over the Gulf for the next week or so. There could be some reduction in air quality, but most of the dust is several thousand feet aloft and most folks won’t even notice it. It happens just about every summer; nothing unusual.

ON THIS DATE IN 1975: An Eastern Airlines Boeing 727 crashed at JFK airport in New York City, killing 113 of the 124 people on board. Researcher Theodore Fujita studied the incident and discovered that a microburst caused the crash. His research led to improved air safety. The tower never experienced the microburst, which was held back by a sea-breeze front. The plane crashed 2,400 feet short of the runway.

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