James Spann: Here’s the latest on Alabama’s possible severe weather this weekend

James Spann looks at the severe weather threat shaping up for Alabama Saturday from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

DRY THROUGH TOMORROW: Today will be another delightful spring day for Alabama, with ample sunshine and a high in the 77- to 80-degree range this afternoon. Tomorrow there’s a good chance we reach the low 80s; the day will be partly sunny with a gusty south wind developing of 12-22 mph ahead of a storm system to the west. Severe storms are possible tomorrow afternoon and night from east Oklahoma and east Texas through much of Arkansas and Louisiana.

STORMY ALABAMA WEEKEND: We still have a complex setup for Alabama Saturday and Saturday night; confidence in seeing rain and strong storms is very high, but the timing and placement remains quite uncertain. The Storm Prediction Center has defined an enhanced risk of severe storms roughly from the Birmingham metro south to the Gulf Coast; a slight risk extends northward into Tennessee.

TIMING/PLACEMENT: Here is the current idea on how this plays out. A weakening band of rain and storms will move into northwest Alabama Saturday morning, and rain is possible during the morning mainly for areas north and west of Birmingham. The air will become more unstable Saturday afternoon into Saturday night, and with increasing dynamic support storms could begin to intensify after 3 p.m. It is very possible the morning rain could stabilize the air over northwest Alabama, mitigating the severe thunderstorm threat there later in the day, and the higher severe probabilities could very well work out to be over east and south Alabama Saturday afternoon and Saturday night.

So, in terms of the threat of severe thunderstorms, the main window will come from roughly 3 Saturday afternoon until 3 a.m. Sunday. But again, some rain with thunder is likely over parts of north and west Alabama Saturday morning.

THREATS: The main threat with the storms over the weekend will come from strong, potentially damaging straight-line winds, but a few storms could also produce hail, and a tornado or two is certainly possible based on the projected upper air wind profiles.

RAIN: Flooding could become an issue; rain amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected over the weekend with these thunderstorms. Heavier rain totals will most likely come over the western half of the state.

Keep up with our updates, as this could change as we get closer to the weekend. Events like this are to be expected in mid-April in Alabama. This is the core of the spring tornado season. Nothing unusual or unprecedented.

Rain/storms will end early Sunday, but the day will be mostly cloudy, breezy and much cooler, with temperatures holding in the 50s.

NEXT WEEK: The week looks generally dry; next round of storms is due in here the following weekend, April 21-22. Growers, beware — we have a good chance of dropping into the 30s early Monday and Tuesday morning. The highest frost potential will come early Tuesday with a clear sky and light wind. Traditionally colder spots could see a freeze. But, thankfully, this looks like the last major frost/freeze threat of the season.

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