James Spann: Cool night ahead for Alabama

FEELING BETTER: Most north and central Alabama communities are holding in the 80s today with a partly to mostly sunny sky. Temperatures are down about 10-12 degrees from recent days. We have showers and storms in progress over parts of Mobile and Baldwin counties this afternoon, but most of the state remains dry. Tonight will be clear and very pleasant; cooler spots will drop into the upper 50s by daybreak.

FRIDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND: Look for sunny, warm days and fair, pleasant nights. Highs will be in the 87- to 91-degree range, with lows in the 60s.

NEXT WEEK: The Global Forecast System continues to hint that a weak surface front will drift down into north Alabama and stall out; this could bring a few scattered showers to the northern half of the state Monday through Wednesday, but rain amounts, if any, should be fairly light and not enough to really help drought conditions that cover parts of Alabama. Temperatures will creep up, and on most days we will see a high in the 88- to 93-degree range.

As you look at the graph below, add about five degrees to the afternoon highs to account for the lack of soil moisture (and the increased ability for the sun to heat the ground, which heats the air).

DROUGHT MONITOR: The new weekly Drought Monitor was released this morning. Drought conditions continue to intensify over the eastern half of Alabama. While a decent part of the state is still not in a drought, the dry pattern sure suggests that could change in coming weeks.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: The weather will be clear for the high school games Friday night with temperatures falling from near 80 at kickoff into the low 70s by the second half.

Saturday, Alabama will host Southern Mississippi at Bryant-Denny Stadium (11 a.m. kickoff). The sky will be sunny with temperatures rising from near 85 at kickoff to 90 by the final whistle.

Auburn is on the road, traveling to College Station to take on Texas A&M (2:30 p.m. Central kickoff). Scattered showers and storms are possible during the game with temperatures generally in the low 90s.

UAB hosts South Alabama at Legion Field in Birmingham (2:30 p.m. kickoff). The sky will be sunny with temperatures in the upper 80s at kickoff, falling into the mid 80s by the end of the game.

TROPICS: Humberto is becoming post-tropical in the North Atlantic this afternoon. Jerry is now a hurricane; it will pass north of the Leeward Islands Friday and turn northward before reaching the Bahamas. It is forecast to recurve in the North Atlantic, and for now is not a threat to the U.S.

The National Hurricane Center is also monitoring three tropical waves in the Atlantic basin; one in the eastern Atlantic has a medium chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm over the next five days.

ENDLESS SUMMER: The new eight- to 14-day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center suggests temperatures will be above average in Alabama into early October. The upper air pattern will not allow any major shots of cool Canadian air into the Deep South for the next 15 days, and don’t be surprised if low 90s show up toward the end of the month and into October. Yes, in Alabama we can easily have 90-degree heat into October. Temperatures at Birmingham have reached the 90s during October in these years: 1897, 1898, 1904, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1919, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1931, 1938, 1940, 1941, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1959, 1963, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2016 and 2018.

ON THIS DATE IN 1947: A hurricane made landfall near the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana. Wind gusts of 112 mph and a central pressure of 967 mb were measured at Moisant International Airport. A storm surge of 9.8 feet reached Shell Beach, Lake Borgne. Moisant Airport field was flooded by two feet of water while Jefferson Parish was flooded to depths of 3.28 feet. New Orleans suffered $100 million in damages. Total loss of life was 51 people. As a result of this storm, hurricane protection levees were built along the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain to protect Orleans and Jefferson Parishes from future storm surges.

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