James Spann: Storms still possible in Alabama today; drier tomorrow

James Spann forecasts an active Tuesday for Alabama weather from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

MUGGY MORNING: The radar is quiet early this morning across Alabama, but humidity levels remain sky high, and we expect scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms by afternoon, thanks to the daytime heating process and an approaching surface front. The chance of any one spot getting wet later today is in the 50 to 60 percent range, and the high will be close to 90 before storms develop.

TOMORROW THROUGH FRIDAY: The front is expected to drift down into central Alabama tomorrow morning, meaning drier air for the northern counties of the state. Most of the scattered showers and storms tomorrow should be south of a line from Livingston to Clanton to Roanoke; north of that line, showers should be few and far between. The high tomorrow will be around 90. Thursday and Friday look quiet, as dry air will be in place over much of the state. Showers will remain very isolated, with a good supply of sunshine both days. Afternoon highs will be in the 90s.

FRIDAY NIGHT AND THE WEEKEND: Another front will bring the next chance of organized showers and storms late Friday night into at least part of the day Saturday. The latest Global Forecast System suggests the main window for thunderstorms will come from about midnight Friday night through noon Saturday. Then, another shot of drier air rolls into Alabama by Saturday night and Sunday. So, at this point, Sunday looks generally dry with only a small risk of a shower. Highs over the weekend should be in the 87- to 90-degree range.

NEXT WEEK: Global models suggest relatively dry weather will continue into Monday and Tuesday of next week with only isolated showers; moisture levels will rise over the latter half of the week, with scattered showers and thunderstorms becoming more numerous.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend.

ON THIS DATE IN 1980: Alabama and much of the southern U.S. was broiling in one of the greatest heat waves of all time. It still rates as one of the hottest Alabama summers on record. In July alone, there were an estimated 120 heat-related deaths along with the loss of more than 200,000 chickens and half the state’s corn crop. The hottest day of the summer was July 17, when more than 80 percent of the state reached 100 degrees and nearly one-quarter of the state reached 105. The highest reading on that day was 108 degrees recorded in the cities of Bessemer, Aliceville and Jasper. It was 105 in Birmingham that day.

Around the nation, the heat wave claimed anywhere between 1,250 and 10,000 lives. Also, because of the massive drought, agricultural damage estimates totaled more than $50 billion when adjusted for inflation. It is among the billion-dollar weather disasters listed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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