QUIET AFTERNOON: The sky is mostly cloudy across Alabama this afternoon, but there are very few showers on radar. Temperatures are mostly in the 70s, but north and west of the state we are seeing 30s and 40s over Arkansas behind a front that is near the northwest corner of Alabama. The front won’t move much over the next 48 hours.
The sky will remain mostly cloudy tonight with just a few isolated showers.
TROPICAL RAIN: Zeta, now in the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to move into southeast Louisiana Wednesday evening as either a minimal hurricane or an upper-end tropical storm. The remnant circulation will move quickly through central Alabama Wednesday night.
GULF COAST IMPACT: A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Alabama Gulf Coast and the Florida Panhandle as far east as the Walton-Okaloosa county line. To the west, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for coastal Mississippi and southeast Louisiana.
A storm surge of 3-5 feet is forecast Wednesday night in the Tropical Storm Warning area, including Mobile Bay. Winds could gust as high as 55 mph over Mobile and Baldwin counties. Wind gusts to 45 mph are possible at places like Pensacola and Navarre Beach.
Dangerous rip currents are likely along the coast today and Wednesday, but the surf will improve Thursday. A few isolated waterspouts or brief tornadoes are possible Wednesday afternoon and night.
INLAND ALABAMA: A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for parts of south and southwest Alabama, where winds could gust to 45-50 mph Wednesday night. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for parts of central Alabama for potential winds of 45 mph Wednesday night. While a few scattered trees could come down, we are not expecting widespread tree or power line damage.
Rain amounts of 2-4 inches are likely for much of the state, with lighter amounts over the southeast tip of the state. While some isolated issues are possible, for now we are not expecting any serious flooding across the state due to the fast movement of Zeta. Look for periods of rain Wednesday, but it won’t rain all day. The heavier rain directly associated with the tropical system will come Wednesday night; the rain ends early in the day Thursday as the remnant circulation quickly moves east of the state. The sky becomes partly sunny Thursday afternoon.
A few isolated, brief tornadoes are possible Wednesday night over the southern half of the state. The higher tornado probabilities are south of U.S. 84.
FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Look for picture-perfect autumn weather Friday and Saturday; the sky will be mostly sunny both days with lows in the 40s and highs between 68 and 72. A few clouds will show up Sunday with an upper trough, but the air will be very dry and showers should be very hard to find. The high Sunday will be close to 70 degrees.
NEXT WEEK: At this point next week looks rain-free with pleasant days, cool nights and temperatures right at seasonal averages for early November.
TIME CHANGE: We go back on Standard Time this weekend; set the clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night. Sunset time for Birmingham Sunday afternoon is 4:54 p.m.
ON THIS DATE IN 2006: A waterspout came ashore and produced EF1 tornado damage in Apalachicola. The tornado cut a path approximately 1 mile long and more than 100 yards wide, damaging a fast food restaurant, school, hospital, electric power substation and dozens of homes.
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