James Spann: Alabama gets much cooler Friday; delightful weekend ahead

BIG WARM-UP: After starting the day in the 40s in many areas, temperatures are in the low 80s across Alabama this afternoon as the dry air mass warmed very efficiently. Tonight will be clear with a low in the 50s.

Thursday will be another warm, dry day with a high between 81 and 85 degrees; then a cold front will pass through the state Thursday night. At this point the air looks too dry for any significant rain along the front. Friday will be breezy and much cooler, with a high only in the mid 60s despite a good supply of sunshine.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: For some places Saturday morning will bring the coldest temperatures so far this season. Lows will range from 34 to 42 for most communities, with potential for some scattered light frost. Then, Saturday will feature a bright, sunny sky with a high around 70 degrees. Sunday will be another sunny day with a high in the mid 70s. It will be a picture-perfect autumn weekend.

NEXT WEEK: A cold front will approach from the north Monday, but it looks like it will hold up just north of the state. For now most of the week looks dry with highs between 77 and 82, and lows in the upper 50s and low 60s.

TROPICS: A broad area of low pressure approaching the Lesser Antilles continues to produce a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms, mainly to the east of its center. Strong upper-level winds are expected to inhibit significant development while the system moves west-northwestward over the next couple of days. Regardless of development, the system could produce locally heavy rainfall across portions of the central and northern Lesser Antilles today, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday, and Hispaniola on Friday. The rest of the Atlantic basin is quiet for now.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs through the end of November.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: Friday night will be cool and dry for high school football games across Alabama. The sky will be clear, with temperatures falling from the upper 50s at kickoff into the upper 40s by the final whistle.

Saturday, Auburn travels to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks in Columbia (11 a.m. CT kickoff). The sky will be sunny, with temperatures rising from 62 at kickoff into the mid 60s by the fourth quarter.

UAB will host Western Kentucky at Legion Field Saturday (12:30 p.m. kickoff). Look for sunshine in full supply, with temperatures rising from 66 at kickoff to near 70 by the final whistle.

Alabama hosts Georgia at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday (7 p.m. kickoff). The sky will be clear, with temperatures falling from near 65 at kickoff into the mid 50s by the end of the game.

ON THIS DATE IN 1941: America’s first television weather forecast was broadcast on New York’s WNBT (later WNBC). There weren’t many televisions at that time, so viewers were limited to perhaps a few hundred people. The weathercast consisted of a sponsor’s message followed by a text screen containing the next day’s forecast.

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