James Spann: Showers for Alabama over the weekend

RADAR CHECK: Scattered showers and thunderstorms are over the southern half of Alabama this afternoon; they are drifting slowly to the southwest. Otherwise it is another hot, dry day with temperatures at record levels. Most communities in north and central Alabama are in the mid 90s. The scattered storms over south Alabama will end later tonight.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A “backdoor” cold front will enter Alabama from the east on Saturday, bringing a chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Highs will be in the 80s over the eastern counties of the state, but 90s persist over west Alabama. Then, on Sunday, all of Alabama should be below 90 degrees, and we will maintain the chance of occasional showers during the day.

NEXT WEEK: The long-awaited cold front moves in Monday with periods of rain and temperatures holding in the 70s during the day. Three-day rain amounts (Saturday through Monday) will be around one-half inch — not a drought buster, but certainly beneficial and enough to settle the dust. The middle of the week looks dry and pleasant with highs in the 75- to 80-degree range and  lows between 57 and 62. Showers return late in the week with the approach of another cold front.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the high school games tonight, the sky will be mostly fair with temperatures falling from the low 80s at kickoff into the upper 70s by the final whistle.

Saturday, Auburn travels to Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators (2:30 p.m. Central kickoff). The sky will be partly to mostly sunny with a kickoff temperature in the low 90s and just a 1-in-5 chance of a brief passing shower during the game.

Saturday evening UAB will host Rice at Birmingham’s Legion Field (kickoff at 6). There will be just an outside risk of a shower early in the game; otherwise it will be mostly fair with temperatures falling from near 88 at kickoff through the 80s during the game.

Jacksonville State will host Tennessee State Saturday evening (kickoff at 6). There will be a risk of showers, mainly during the first half of the game. Temperatures fall from near 85 at kickoff into the upper 70s by the fourth quarter.

HOT AND DRY: The last time Birmingham had a high under 90 degrees was on Sept. 20, when the high was 88. And the last measurable rain was on Sept. 14, when the total was 0.34 of an inch.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin is quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected through early next week.

ON THIS DATE IN 1995: Opal made landfall at Pensacola Beach as a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. Opal was the first major hurricane to strike the Florida panhandle since Hurricane Eloise in 1975. It rapidly weakened after moving inland and was downgraded to a tropical storm as it moved across southern Alabama. This system weakened further to a tropical depression as it moved into southeast Tennessee and became extratropical over the Ohio River Valley on Oct. 5. There were nine fatalities reported in the mainland United States, including one in Crestview, Florida, caused by an F2 tornado. Insured property damage was estimated to have cost $2.1 billion.

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