CIRRUS NEAR US, STRATUS COMING AT US: It’s another delightful fall day for Alabama, with lots of sunshine through high-altitude cirrus clouds, around 25,000 feet off the ground. These thin clouds are ice crystals and often are seen ahead of a storm system that features lower stratus clouds. The lower clouds arrive tonight.
FRIDAY: Widespread rain is likely during the day as a warm front slowly moves northward. Temperatures will hold in the 60s as the rain falls. There could be a little thunder in spots, but we expect mostly a large stratiform rain mass. The rain will likely continue over north Alabama Friday night, while south Alabama gets a break.
SATURDAY: The warm front will move near the Tennessee state line, and all of Alabama will be in a moist air mass. Occasional showers are likely, but it won’t rain all day and the sun might even peek out a time or two. Late in the day and into Saturday night, a band of thunderstorms will roll through ahead of a cold front. Instability will be limited and lapse rates rather weak, so for now we are not expecting organized severe storms. But a strong thunderstorm will certainly be possible.
The rain will most likely be heavy at times as a tropical system, now in the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to be involved; for now it looks like the heaviest rain will fall over north and west Alabama, where 2-4 inches are likely. For the southern and eastern part of the state, 1-2 inches are expected, but these forecast amounts could change as we get better clarity on the tropical situation.
The high Saturday afternoon will be in the mid 70s.
SUNDAY: Morning clouds will give way to a partly sunny afternoon; any lingering showers should be confined to the southern quarter of the state. Sunday’s high will be in the low 70s.
NEXT WEEK: A decent part of the week will be dry, but models are showing mixed signals concerning precipitation along a cold front at midweek. We are still expecting the coldest air so far this season following the front, with potential for the first freeze of the season for some north and central Alabama communities late in the week.
TROPICS: The disturbance over the Gulf of Mexico (Invest 97L) now has a 60% chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm over the next 36 hours. It will merge with a cold front Friday night and Saturday, and the deep moisture will move into Alabama and the Gulf Coast region, enhancing rain amounts.
FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the high school games Friday night, the sky will be cloudy with rain likely over the northern third of Alabama; temperatures will be in the 60s.Showers will be more scattered in nature over the southern two-thirds of the state.
For Saturday’s Magic City Classic at Legion Field in Birmingham (Alabama State vs. Alabama A&M, 2:30 p.m. kickoff), the sky will be cloudy, and occasional showers are likely. A thunderstorm can’t be ruled out, but there will be good breaks in the rain. The kickoff temperature will be near 74 degrees, falling near 70 by the final whistle.
Auburn travels to Baton Rouge Saturday to take on LSU (kickoff at 2:30 p.m. Central). The sky will be mostly cloudy, and a few passing showers are possible during the game. Temperatures will fall from the upper 60s at kickoff into the mid 60s by the fourth quarter.
It is homecoming at the University of Alabama Saturday; the Tide will host Arkansas at Bryant-Denny Stadium (6 p.m. kickoff). It looks like rain will fall at times during the game, with thunderstorms possible as well. Temperatures will fall from near 72 at kickoff into the upper 60s by the second half.
ON THIS DATE IN 1878: The Gale of 1878 was an intense Category 2 hurricane that was active between Oct. 18 and Oct. 25. It caused extensive damage from Cuba to New England and is believed to be the strongest storm to hit the Washington-Baltimore region since hurricane records began in 1851.
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