James Spann: Scattered showers, storms return to Alabama Friday, over the weekend

HOT: Birmingham’s high as of 3:15 this afternoon was 96 degrees, making this the second-hottest day so far this summer. We reached 97 on Sept. 15, the hottest summer day on the books for this year. The sky is sunny, and bone-crushing subsidence (sinking air) under an upper high has put a lid on showers over the northern half of the state. Even in south Alabama, we are seeing only isolated thunderstorms.

Not much will change Thursday; the weather will stay sunny and hot with a high in the mid 90s, about 10 degrees above average for mid-September in Alabama.

Despite the September heat, no records are in danger. These are the daily record highs for Birmingham:

  • Today (Sept. 19) — 102 (1931)
  • Thursday (Sept. 20) — 100 (1925)

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: The upper high weakens a bit, and with rising moisture levels will bring the potential for random, scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms into the forecast on these three days. The chance of any one community getting wet will be in the 30 to 40 percent range, and most of the showers will come from 1 until 11 p.m. Otherwise, expect partly sunny days, fair nights and highs mostly in the upper 80s.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the high school games Friday night, a brief shower or thunderstorm is possible during the first half; otherwise, it will be fair with temperatures falling through the 80s.

Saturday, Alabama hosts Texas A&M at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa (2:30 p.m. kickoff). The sky will be partly sunny, and a passing shower or storm is possible during the game. Temperatures will hover in the 85- to 90-degree range.

Auburn hosts Arkansas Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium (6:30 p.m. kickoff). There will be a small risk of a shower during the first half; otherwise, it will be mostly fair with temperatures falling from near 86 at kickoff into the low 80s by the final whistle.

UAB has a bye week.

NEXT WEEK: The potential for scattered storms will continue Monday and Tuesday, but showers and thunderstorms will become more numerous Wednesday and Thursday with the approach of a long-awaited cold front, supported by a strong upper trough. Much cooler air should invade the Deep South by next Friday and the following weekend (Sept. 28-30).

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

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: Hurricane Maria reached Category 5 strength just before making landfall on Dominica, becoming the first Category 5 hurricane on record to strike the island. After weakening slightly, Maria achieved its peak intensity over the eastern Caribbean with maximum sustained winds of 175 mph and a pressure of 908 mb, making it the 10th-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record.

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