James Spann: Another very cold night ahead for Alabama

CLOUDLESS SKY: All 67 Alabama counties are completely cloud-free this afternoon as a cold, dry air mass stays in place. Temperatures are only in the mid 30s over north Alabama, with low 40s to the south. These values are about 20 degrees below average for late January in Alabama. Tonight will be clear and very cold; most places will see a low between 20 and 25, but teens are likely for the colder spots.

REST OF THE WEEK: Wednesday will be dry with a partly to mostly sunny sky; temperatures reach the low 50s by afternoon as a warming trend begins. Clouds will increase Wednesday night.

On Thursday, rain will likely push into west Alabama by afternoon ahead of the next approaching weather system. Rain becomes widespread Thursday night, then ends from west to east during the day Friday. For now it looks like the main window will come from 4 p.m. Thursday through noon Friday. Amounts of one-half to 1 inch are likely. Some thunder is possible over southwest Alabama, but for most of the state it will be a stratiform rain event. The high will be in the 47- to 51-degree range Thursday, followed by mid 50s Friday.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Dry weather is expected over the weekend with seasonal temperatures. With a partly sunny sky, we project a high in the mid 50s Saturday and Sunday. A light freeze is possible early Sunday morning.

NEXT WEEK: Temperatures could reach 60 degrees by Tuesday; then rain returns Wednesday and Wednesday night. No sign of any extremely cold air next week.

THIS MORNING: Here are some lows this morning across Alabama from the ABC 33/40 Skywatchers:

  • Black Creek — 15
  • Heflin — 18
  • Jacksonville — 18
  • Remlap — 20
  • Grayson Valley — 21
  • Alexander City — 21
  • Mountain Brook — 22
  • Dunnavant — 22
  • Hueytown — 23
  • Cottondale — 24
  • Millport — 24
  • Northport — 26
  • Coker — 26

ON THIS DATE IN 1985: The temperature at Birmingham dropped to 6 degrees below zero, the second-coldest on record for the city. Jacksonville, Florida, recorded its all-time record low of 7 degrees. Macon, Georgia, had its coldest day ever at 6 degrees. It was the coldest Inauguration Day in history as President Ronald Reagan was sworn in for a second term during cold and winds that resulted in wind chill readings of 30 degrees below zero. Because of the bitter cold temperatures, many of the outdoor Inauguration events were canceled and Reagan was sworn in the Capitol Rotunda.

ON THIS DATE IN 1999: A major tornado outbreak occurred from southwest into central and northeast Arkansas during the afternoon and evening. Thirty tornadoes tracked across 15 counties. Homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in areas like Little Rock, Beebe, McRae and areas farther north and east. Eight deaths and 140 to 150 injuries resulted from the tornadoes.

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