James Spann: Rain returns to Alabama Friday

COOL, DRY DAY: We have some high cirrus clouds over north Alabama this afternoon. Otherwise we are enjoying a good supply of sunshine with temperatures in the 47- to 52-degree range for most places. Tonight will be fair and cold, with a low between 30 and 38 early Wednesday. We stay dry Wednesday and Thursday with a partly to mostly sunny sky; we rise to near 60 degrees Wednesday, followed by low 60s Thursday. Clouds will increase Friday ahead of a wave approaching from the west.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Friday will be a cloudy, cool day with periods of rain. It won’t rain all day, and we expect amounts generally less than one-half inch. With a stable air mass there is no risk of severe storms, and we probably won’t have much thunder. The rain will end Friday evening from west to east.

Saturday will be a dry, pleasant day, with a partly sunny sky and a high in the low 60s. Moisture will increase Sunday and a few afternoon showers are possible, but for now it looks like rain won’t be really widespread or heavy. The high Sunday will remain in the 60- to 64-degree range.

NEXT WEEK: Showers are possible Monday, but rain will be more widespread Monday night and Tuesday morning as a cold front passes through the state. We rise into the upper 60s Monday, but Tuesday will be colder, with a high in the 48- to 54-degree range. For now the rest of the week looks dry with cool days and cold nights.

RAIN UPDATE: Birmingham’s rain total since Jan. 1 is 47.7 inches; the deficiency for the year is 1.9 inches. Other totals and departures from average include:

  • Mobile — 59.38 inches (deficiency of 2.03 inches)
  • Tuscaloosa — 56.26 (surplus of 7.9)
  • Huntsville — 53.93 (surplus of 4.97)
  • Anniston — 49.71 (surplus of 3.85)
  • Montgomery — 41.55 (deficiency of 7 inches)

ON THIS DATE IN 1983: The 1983 Iron Bowl game is one of the greatest in the history of the rivalry. It was played at Legion Field on Dec. 3. The game started in beautiful warm sunshine after a stormy night of very heavy rains that caused severe flooding in the Birmingham area. A total of 9.22 inches of rain fell at the National Weather Service Forecast Office, which was on Oxmoor Road at the time. If the amount had been recorded at the airport, it would have stood as the all-time 24 hour rainfall record for the city until Hurricane Ivan.

In the second half, a line of severe thunderstorms was approaching western Jefferson County and a tornado warning was issued. The radar at Centreville showed a well-defined hook echo heading directly toward the stadium. Legion Field public address announcer Simpson Pepper read the warning over the loudspeakers, but the game was not stopped. By 10 minutes to go in the game, the rain was coming down in torrents as Auburn tried to control the ball and win the game in the horrible conditions as it clung to a 23-20 lead. The rain began to fall so heavily that you could barely see the field on the cameras.

Fortunately, the storm did not produce a tornado in western Birmingham, or the results would have been catastrophic, but later the same storm dropped an F3 tornado that heavily damaged the Winn-Dixie store at Sky City in Oxford, killing two people. Seven tornadoes touched down across the state that afternoon and evening. Auburn went on to win the game 23-20.

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