James Spann: Hot, dry pattern for Alabama through the weekend

SUMMER HEAT IS HERE: We have a field of cumulus clouds over parts of east and south Alabama this afternoon, but so far very few of those have developed into showers. Temperatures are mostly in the 89- to 94-degree range.

A few small, isolated showers could still form this evening, but most places will stay dry.

FRIDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND: Sizzling heat headlines the forecast — the hottest weather so far this year, with highs generally in the mid 90s. Some spots across west and south Alabama could reach the upper 90s. Expect mostly sunny days and fair nights.

Here are the record highs for Birmingham in coming days:

  • Today (May 23) — 95 (1996)
  • Friday (May 24) — 96 (1996)
  • Saturday (May 25) — 95 (1962)
  • Sunday (May 26) — 97 (1962)
  • Monday (May 27) — 98 (1962)

NEXT WEEK: Hot, dry weather is the story as a strong upper ridge persists across the Deep South. A few isolated afternoon showers could show up toward the end of the week, but the pattern looks pretty dry.

MISSOURI TORNADOES: A tornado killed three people in the Lamar-Golden City area of Barton County, Missouri, late Wednesday. Another tornado, rated EF-3 by the National Weather Service, tore through Jefferson City, Missouri, Wednesday night, injuring 20. More severe storms are possible through tonight along the western and northern periphery of the upper high across the Deep South.

ON THIS DATE IN 1968: One of the costliest hailstorms in Oklahoma City history pummeled the city on this date. Hail the size of baseballs fell over much of the city, resulting in more than 40,000 insurance claims over the 90,000-square-mile path of the storm. The final cost was more than $20 million. The parent thunderstorm also caused flash flooding that left 2 to 4 feet of water in some underpasses and a lightning strike that started a fire that killed two people.

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