James Spann: Wet, unsettled weather for Alabama through Sunday morning

James Spann forecasts a wet weekend for Alabama as Hurricane Delta nears Louisiana coast from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

RADAR CHECK: Rain is fairly widespread across the northern third of the state early this morning and additional, heavier showers have formed over the central counties of the state. Today will be cloudy with occasional showers as moisture levels continue to rise across the Deep South; the high will be in the mid to upper 70s.

THE WEEKEND: Hurricane Delta makes landfall this evening on the southwest coast of Louisiana, and Alabama will be on the wet, east side of the circulation. Saturday will be a breezy day, with winds of 12-22 mph, and periods of rain are likely along with a few thunderstorms. It won’t rain all day, but the rain could be heavy at times. Also, the Storm Prediction Center has defined a marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) of severe storms for all 67 Alabama counties.

A few brief, isolated tornadoes are possible in the spiral bands wrapping around the east side of Delta’s circulation. The highest risk of a couple of tornadoes will come during the afternoon and evening, when the air is most unstable. Be weather aware, and pay attention to warnings if they are needed.

Showers will end by midday Sunday for most locations; rain totals from now through Sunday will be 2 to 3 inches over northwest Alabama, with 1-2 inches for the rest of the state. Flooding is not expected since the ground is not saturated. Highs over the weekend will be in the mid to upper 70s.

NEXT WEEK: The week looks rain-free. Afternoons will be warm initially with highs in the low 80s Monday and Tuesday, falling back into the upper 70s for the rest of the week. Noticeably cooler air arrives by the following weekend.

DELTA: Hurricane Delta is packing sustained winds of 120 mph early this morning; the center is about 200 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana, and the system is moving to the north at 12 mph. Some weakening is expected before landfall this evening on the western coast of Louisiana.

The remnant circulation will curve northeast, up through north Mississippi and Tennessee over the weekend. The main wind and storm surge issues will come across Louisiana; surge for the Alabama Gulf Coast and Mobile Bay will be 1-3 feet. For those headed to the coast from Gulf Shores to Panama City Beach, dangerous rip currents are likely over the weekend, but the weather will improve, with only isolated showers both days and a decent amount of sunshine. Next week looks rain-free along the Gulf Coast.

ELSEWHERE: A tropical wave several hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands continues to produce disorganized showers and a few thunderstorms. The wave is expected to move generally westward or west-northwestward at about 15 mph. Environmental conditions could be conducive for some gradual development of the system this weekend or early next week while it is over the tropical Atlantic, well east of the Lesser Antilles. Upper-level winds are forecast to become unfavorable for further development by the middle of next week.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: Most of the high school games were moved to last night; for those games being played tonight, periods of rain are likely with temperatures falling into the low 70s.

Saturday, Auburn hosts Arkansas (3 p.m. kickoff) at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Occasional showers are likely during the game, with a south wind of 8-16 mph. Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 70s.

Alabama will take on Ole Miss on the road at Oxford (6:30 p.m. kickoff). There’s a good chance the heavier rain bands will be north and east of Oxford by the new kickoff time, but a few showers are still likely with winds of 12-25 mph. Temperatures will be in the low 70s.

Jacksonville State will host Mercer (2 p.m. kickoff); occasional showers are likely with temperatures in the mid to upper 70s.

ON THIS DATE IN 1804: The famous Snow Hurricane moved ashore near Atlantic City. After it briefly passed through Connecticut and into Massachusetts, cold air was entrained in the circulation, with heavy snow falling from New York to southern Canada. Berkshires, Massachusetts, and Concord, New Hampshire, recorded 2 feet of snow. This storm produced the first observation of snow from a hurricane, but not the last. Hurricane Ginny of 1963 brought up to 18 inches of snow to portions of Maine.

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