James Spann: Dry air returns to Alabama Wednesday; eyes on the western Gulf

WET DAY: Rain covers much of Alabama this afternoon; so far the heavier totals have been over the southern half of the state, close to a stalled front. Rain will continue at times through tonight, and potential for strong storms remains over far south Alabama, where unstable air is in place. The Storm Prediction Center maintains a marginal risk (level 1 of 5) for areas south of a line from Sweetwater to Greenville to Abbeville.

Rain will end early Wednesday morning, and the sky becomes sunny by mid to late morning as a nice surge of dry air blows into the state. The high will be close to 70 degrees.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: We project perfect autumn weather on these two days with sunny, pleasant days and clear, chilly nights. The low early Thursday and Friday will be in the 40- to 45-degree range, but colder spots will visit the 30s. The high will be in the upper 60s Thursday, followed by low 70s Friday.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: No doubt we will have some rain over the weekend, but details remain unclear. Here are the main forecast points now:

  • The National Hurricane Center is forecasting a medium chance of tropical depression or storm development in the western Gulf of Mexico by Thursday and Friday. Models take this disturbance into the Deep South over the weekend, and this could enhance the amount of rain we see. But there is no way now of knowing the exact placement of the axis of heavier rain since the tropical system is over land at the moment (the southern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico). Once it gets into the Gulf and becomes organized, we will be able to provide a much more detailed forecast.
  • It won’t rain all weekend. For now, it looks like rain begins across south Alabama Saturday morning and spreads northward to cover much of the state by late Saturday afternoon, Saturday night and into Sunday morning. If the tropical system does get involved, the rain could be heavy at times.
  • Highs will be in the 70s both Saturday and Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: A cold front will bring another chance of showers and thunderstorms to Alabama Monday. The air will be unstable, and this could set the stage for strong, possibly severe thunderstorms. Again, it’s way too early to be specific. Cooler, drier air rolls in during the middle of the week after the front passes.

TD 15: The depression in the far eastern Atlantic is now expected to remain below tropical storm strength, and it should dissipate far from land by the weekend.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: Auburn travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to take on the Razorbacks Saturday (kickoff at 11 a.m. Central). The sky will be partly sunny, and there is an outside risk of a passing shower or thunderstorm during the game. The kickoff temperature will be near 68, rising into the low 70s by the second half.

Alabama will host Tennessee Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa (kickoff at 8). The sky will be cloudy, and some rain is likely during the game. Temperatures will be in the low 70s.

UAB hosts Old Dominion Saturday afternoon at Legion Field in Birmingham (kickoff at 3). The sky will be mostly cloudy, and rain could move in during the game. The kickoff temperature will be near 77 degrees, falling back into the low 70s by the final whistle.

Jacksonville State hosts Southeast Missouri State Saturday (3 p.m. kickoff). The sky will be mostly cloudy; rain is possible. Temperatures will fall from near 76 at kickoff into the low 70s by the fourth quarter.

ON THIS DATE IN 1984: The Monday Night Football game in Denver was played in a raging blizzard. Fifteen inches of snow fell, with up to 34 inches reported in the nearby mountains. The Air Force Academy canceled classes for the first time in its recorded history.

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