James Spann: Hot afternoon in Alabama, with a few storms

RADAR CHECK: As expected, showers are few and far between across the northern third of Alabama this afternoon, but we do have a few heavier storms south of I-20 as I write this at 3:15 p.m. Heavy rain was falling over parts of Shelby County and in the broad zone from Montgomery over to Alexander City and Opelika. Storms are moving slowly to the south, and will fade away once the sun goes down. Temperatures are in the low 90s in most places, but of course it is cooler where thunderstorms have formed.

THURSDAY AND FRIDAY: The weak surface front across central Alabama will dissipate, and we expect a partly sunny sky both days with scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Afternoon highs will be in the 90- to 93-degree range.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A disturbance rolling down the back side of an upper trough over the eastern U.S. will have the chance of pushing an organized batch of thunderstorms into Alabama at some point late Friday night or Saturday morning. Model data suggests the main window will come from 3 a.m. until noon Saturday. With good dynamic forcing, which is rather unusual for July, some of the storms could produce strong winds and hail. We can’t rule out an isolated tornado, so we will be watching radar trends closely as the weekend begins.

But it won’t rain all day Saturday and the sun should be out at times. Then, on Sunday, expect a partly sunny sky with just a few widely scattered showers or thunderstorms. The high Saturday will be close to 90, followed by mid to upper 80s Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: It looks like temperatures will be below average much of the week, with highs in the 80s. Days will be partly sunny with some risk of scattered showers and storms each day.

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

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