ANOTHER WARM DAY: We are projecting a high in the mid 80s for much of Alabama today; the average high for Birmingham on Oct. 8 is 78. The sky will be partly sunny; any showers will be confined to the far southern counties of the state. Clouds will gradually increase statewide tonight.
Friday will be a cloudy day with showers possible, especially during the afternoon. Showers become more widespread Friday night as Hurricane Delta moves into the western Louisiana coast. The high will be between 75 and 80 degrees.
SATURDAY: Saturday will be breezy and wet, with rain much of the day as Delta moves northward through the Mississippi Delta region. Rain amounts will be heavier across the northwest corner of the state; Muscle Shoals could see 2-3 inches. Totals will be around 1 inch for places like Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Gadsden and Mobile, and less than 1 inch over east and southeast Alabama.
The Storm Prediction Center has defined a marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) of severe thunderstorms for much of north and central Alabama Saturday; a few brief, isolated tornadoes are possible.
Keep in mind tornadoes associated with tropical systems are usually brief and hard to detect since they are low-topped and often literally under the radar. But be weather aware Saturday and have a way of hearing warnings if they are needed.
Rain will end from southwest to northeast during the day Sunday; highs over the weekend will be in the upper 70s for most communities.
NEXT WEEK: The week looks rain-free. Monday will be warm and dry; then a cold front passes through on Tuesday, followed by cooler air over the latter half of the week.
DELTA: Delta is growing stronger again; sustained winds are 100 mph early this morning. The hurricane is about 450 miles south/southeast of Cameron, Louisiana, and is moving northwest at 15 mph. It could reach Category 3 strength again tonight or Friday; the latest National Hurricane Center forecast shows landfall along the western Louisiana coast as a Category 2 Friday afternoon.
The storm surge watch for the Alabama Gulf Coast was discontinued last night. Surge along the Alabama coast and Mobile Bay is now expected to be 1-3 feet.
Most of the significant wind and storm surge issues will be well to the west of the Alabama coast across Louisiana. Winds over Mobile and Baldwin counties will be 15-25 mph Friday night, with possible gusts to 30 mph. Winds along the northwest Florida beaches will be 10-20 mph.
A few brief, isolated waterspouts are possible Friday afternoon and night near the Alabama and northwest Florida coasts. Dangerous rip currents are likely through Saturday; expect double red flags. The surf will begin to calm Sunday.
The weekend looks nice from Gulf Shores over to Panama City; the sky becomes partly sunny Saturday, followed by a sunny sky Sunday. Most of next week will be dry and pleasant along the coast.
FOOTBALL WEATHER: Many of the high school games have been moved to tonight; the weather will be dry over the northern half of the state with temperatures falling through the 70s. Showers are likely Friday night with temperatures in the 70s.
Alabama will take on Ole Miss on the road at Oxford (5 p.m. kickoff). It will be windy and wet due to the remnant circulation of Delta; rain is likely, especially during the first half. Winds will be in the 15-25 mph range, with possible gusts to 30 mph during the first quarter.
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