James Spann: Rain returns to Alabama Wednesday

RAIN ON THE WAY: Clouds have been increasing across Alabama today ahead of a storm system to the west that will bring widespread rain to our state Wednesday. Rain amounts of 1 to 1.5 inches are likely statewide, and some thunder is possible over south Alabama. In fact, the Storm Prediction Center has defined a marginal risk of severe storms (level 1 of 5) for the immediate Gulf Coast Wednesday, including the southern part of Mobile and Baldwin counties.

As the rain falls it will be windy at times; a south wind will average 12-22 mph with higher gusts. Rain ends Wednesday night, and as colder air moves into the state, there is some chance of light snow flurries, or maybe a bit of sleet, but we expect no accumulation or impact.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: The sky becomes partly to mostly sunny Thursday with a high in the upper 40s. Friday will be dry and cold with a good supply of sunshine; after a low in the 20s, the high Friday afternoon will be in the mid 40s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The weekend begins with a cold morning early Saturday; lows will be in the 20s. But we rise into the low 50s by Saturday afternoon with a mostly sunny sky. We are forecasting a partly sunny sky Sunday with a high in the mid to upper 50s. It looks like the air will be simply too dry to support any precipitation with the Alberta Clipper system passing north of the state.

NEXT WEEK: Monday will be dry and pleasant as afternoon temperatures approach 60 degrees. But the weather turns much colder in the Tuesday/Wednesday time frame as another deep, long-wave upper trough develops over the eastern third of the nation. Global models hint at some light rain or light snow as the cold air rushes into the state Tuesday or Tuesday night; it is simply too early to know the amount of precipitation we will see, or if there will be any impact. The latter half of the week looks dry with a gradual warming trend.

ON THIS DATE IN 1904: An F4 tornado leveled the community of Moundville in Hale County just after midnight. At least 37 people were killed and around 150 people were injured; the business section of Moundville was destroyed. Fields were laid bare and houses, fences and outbuildings were demolished. The Alabama Great Southern Railroad lost its water tank, depot and warehouse, with contents of seven railroad cars. Some of the victims were carried more than 200 yards by the tornado. The Griffin Hotel was flattened. Two people were significantly injured by flying lumber missiles.

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