James Spann: Rain ends in Alabama tonight; cloudy and very cold Thursday

COLD, WET DAY: Widespread rain continues to fall across Alabama this afternoon with temperatures only in the 30s and 40s, about 30 degrees below average for mid-November. The rain will end from west to east tonight as the upper low to the west lifts out to the northeast.

Temperatures will drop below freezing early Thursday over about the western half of the state, and a freeze warning is in effect in the broad zone from Hamilton, Haleyville, Jasper and Birmingham south to Mobile, Foley and Atmore.

Thursday will be dry, but cloudy and very cold. Most communities in north and central Alabama will hold in the 30s all day, and there is a good chance we will tie a record for the earliest day in the fall with a maximum temperature below 40 degrees. The current record is Nov. 15, 1940, when the high was 35 at Birmingham. Some clearing is possible over west Alabama by mid to late afternoon; the sky will clear statewide Thursday night.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Friday morning will be cold, with a low between 28 and 32 across north and central Alabama, with mid to upper 30s for the southern half of the state. But the good news is that we project sunny, pleasant days and clear nights through the weekend. The high Friday will be in the upper 50s, followed by mid 60s Saturday and Sunday. It will feel very comfortable compared to the chill we are dealing with now.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the high school playoff games Friday night, the sky will be clear with temperatures falling from the mid 40s at kickoff into the upper 30s by the final whistle.

Saturday, Alabama hosts The Citadel at Bryant-Denny Stadium (11 a.m. kickoff). The sky will be sunny with temperatures rising from near 57 at kickoff into the low 60s by the second half.

Auburn will host Liberty Saturday (3 p.m. kickoff) at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It will be a sunny afternoon with temperatures falling from near 63 at kickoff into the mid 50s by the final whistle.

UAB will travel to College Station to take on Texas A&M (6 p.m. kickoff). Clouds will increase during the game, but the weather will stay dry. Temperatures will fall from near 65 at kickoff into the upper 50s by the fourth quarter.

THANKSGIVING WEEK: The weather in Alabama looks dry Monday through Wednesday with highs in the low 60s most days. The latest run of the American global model, the GFS, now holds the next chance of rain back until Thursday night and Friday, but of course that could change again as we get closer to Thanksgiving. For now, Iron Bowl Saturday (Nov. 24) looks dry and pleasant.

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

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