James Spann: Rain for Alabama tonight, sunny Tuesday

WET: A large mass of rain covers much of north and central Alabama this afternoon. We’re not seeing any lightning over the northern half of the state; the greatest instability is over south Alabama, where the Storm Prediction Center maintains a slight risk (level 2 out of 5) of severe storms for tonight. The risk of severe thunderstorm activity for north Alabama is very low, although a marginal risk is still in play.

A few storms over south Alabama could produce a brief tornado along with gusty winds tonight. Rain totals will be around one-half inch for most places, with isolated heavier amounts.

MIDWEEK: The sky will clear from west to east after midnight, and the weather will be dry and very pleasant Tuesday through Thursday — sunny days, fair nights, highs in the low 70s and lows mostly in the low to mid 40s. Perfect autumn weather.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: The weather picture for Alabama remains about as clear as mud on these three days because of large model differences and inconsistencies. Models differ on how to handle an upper wave west of the state, but both suggest periods of rain are likely Friday, possibly Friday night. Then the divergence begins. The American global model (GFS) shows dry and pleasant weather Saturday and Sunday, while the European global model (ECMWF) suggests occasional rain and a few thunderstorms need to be in the forecast both days.

As we often point out here, the European model tends to perform better three to seven days out, and we will lean toward the wetter solution for now and maintain some risk of rain for Saturday and Sunday in our forecast package. But I would not change plans or be too worried if you have something planned outdoors right now, since this forecast can and probably will change. We’ll get better clarity through the week.

NEXT WEEK: For now Monday and Tuesday look dry, but a cold front will bring some risk of showers Wednesday, followed by much cooler air.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin is very quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected this week.

ON THIS DATE IN 1934: A severe windstorm lashed the northern Pacific coast. In Washington, the storm claimed the lives of 22 people and caused $1.7 million damage, mostly to timber. Winds gusting to 87 mph at North Head, Washington, produced waves 20 feet high on the Puget Sound.

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