James Spann: Scattered, mostly afternoon storms for Alabama today

James Spann: Typical August weather for Alabama this week from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

TYPICAL SUMMER PATTERN SETTING UP: Today looks like a pretty routine August day in Alabama; hot and humid with morning sunshine followed by scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Of course, a rogue shower or two is certainly possible this morning; we noted a cluster of showers moving into Marion County as I wrote this.

The chance of any one spot getting wet today is in the 30 to 40 percent category, and the high will be pretty close to 90 degrees this afternoon.

REST OF THE WEEK: Temperatures aloft will be lightly warmer, but the overall pattern won’t change much — partly sunny, hot, humid days with a few scattered showers and storms around during the peak of the daytime heating process. Highs will creep up into the low 90s in many areas. Classic “dog day” weather.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The best idea is a persistence forecast. We are in that time of the year when the large-scale weather pattern doesn’t change much; changes in the placement and coverage of scattered showers and storms are determined by small-scale things like temperatures aloft, surface boundaries and moisture convergence that just can’t be forecast days in advance. We will roll with the classic summer forecast — hot, humid days with a partly sunny sky and scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs for the weekend will hold generally in the low 90s.

And we see no reason to deviate from that forecast into early next week.

SOLAR ECLIPSE WEATHER: Next Monday, Aug. 21, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path here in Alabama will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.

The coverage will be 93 percent in Birmingham and 97 percent in Huntsville. It begins arounds noon, peaks at 1:32 and ends at 2:58. The big question involves the weather. At this point, it looks like a routine summer day here in our state, meaning a decent chance you will be able to see the eclipse. There will be a scattered field of cumulus clouds, and a few scattered showers are possible, but nothing at this point to suggest a widespread overcast.

TROPICS: Hurricane Gert is packing sustained winds of 75 mph, and is passing between the U.S. East Coast and Bermuda. It will turn northwest and head for the North Atlantic in coming days and is no threat to land.

Invest 91L is in the Central Atlantic; models now suggest this will stay a low-latitude system and will move into the Caribbean late this week as a tropical storm, or even a hurricane. It’s way too early to call the final destination.

And a new wave is emerging off the coast of Africa. This one could develop slowly later this week.

BEACH FORECAST: Click here to see the AlabamaWx Beach Forecast Center page.

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