James Spann: Rain returns to Alabama Thursday; drier by the weekend

CLOUDS MOVING IN: Clouds have been increasing across Alabama today ahead of a weather system west of the state; temperatures are mostly in the 40s over north Alabama, with 50s to the south. Clouds will continue to thicken tonight, and some rain could reach west Alabama by Thursday morning.

RAIN RETURNS: Thursday will be a cool, wet day across Alabama with periods of rain likely. The rain will be most widespread Thursday afternoon and night; temperatures will hold in the 40s, so there won’t be any severe thunderstorm worries — maybe some scattered thunder for the southern half of the state, where there will be a touch of surface-based instability. Rain amounts between one-half and 1 inch are likely.

The latest model data shows rain moving out of the state very early in the day Friday; most of the day will be dry, but clouds will linger. The high Friday afternoon will be in the low to mid 50s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The weekend looks cool and dry with partly sunny days and fair nights. Highs will be in the mid 50s Saturday and Sunday, with early morning lows in the low to mid 30s.

NEXT WEEK: Clouds will increase Tuesday, and the next rain event comes Tuesday night into Wednesday. Then, we trend drier toward the end of the week. Temperatures will be close to seasonal averages for late January with highs mostly in the upper 50s, although we could see low 60s a day or two.

THIS MORNING: Here are lows this morning across Alabama with our team of Skywatchers:

  • Heflin — 18
  • Weaver — 19
  • Cottondale — 19
  • Carbon Hill — 20
  • Hueytown — 20
  • Millport — 20
  • Alexander City — 21
  • Arley — 22
  • Coker — 22
  • Remlap — 23
  • Jemison — 24

ON THIS DATE IN 1904: An estimated EF-4 tornado leveled the northern part of Moundville just after midnight, killing 37 people. The tornado reportedly had a phosphorescent glow. An engineer on a northbound Great Southern train saw the destruction right after it occurred, and backed his train 12 miles in reverse to the town of Akron, where he sent a telegram for help. An infant was snatched from its crib in the lower part of town and hurled through the air. It was airborne as it passed over the demolished stores and was deposited uninjured in an old cotton field more than 100 yards away. Everything in the tornado path was swept aside, including heavily laden freight cars standing on the tracks. The tornado sucked heavy timbers from the rain cars and scattered them nearby.

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