James Spann: Alabama gets wet today, dry for the weekend

James Spann forecasts a wet Thursday for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

PERIODS OF RAIN: Wet weather returns to Alabama today; look for periods of rain through tonight. Temperatures will hold in the 40s all day over the northern half of the state, so the air will be cold and stable and there is no risk of severe thunderstorms. Rain amounts will be around 1 inch over the next 24 hours.

The main rain mass will exit the state very early Friday, but clouds will linger through the day. As an upper trough swings through, some patches of light rain or drizzle are possible Friday afternoon, but nothing like the widespread rain we will deal with today. Temperatures will remain in the 40s over the northern third of Alabama on Friday, with 50s to the south.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The weekend looks dry for Alabama. With a mix of sun and clouds we expect highs in the 50- to 55-degree range Saturday and Sunday. Clouds will increase Sunday night with a feature moving through the Gulf of Mexico; this could squeeze out some light rain over far south Alabama early Monday, but moisture will be limited and most likely most of the state will remain dry.

NEXT WEEK: The next rain possibility comes along Wednesday; global models are not in very good agreement concerning the details of the system, but it doesn’t look like a severe weather setup one way or another. More rain is possible by Friday night or Saturday, Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Temperatures through the week will be close to seasonal averages for late January in Alabama, with highs mostly in the mid to upper 50s.

LONG RANGE: We are seeing signals of below-average temperatures for the eastern and southern U.S. as we get into February based on pattern recognition and teleconnections. Winter is far from over. Below is the Climate Prediction Center outlook for Feb. 1-14.

ON THIS DATE IN 2012: An EF-3 tornado tore through Center Point and Clay before dawn, killing one person and injuring many others. A total of 231 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. The tornado damage path was approximately 15.5 miles long and was 880 yards wide at its widest point. Earlier that morning, an EF-2 moved through western Jefferson County, killing one person near Oak Grove.

ON THIS DATE IN 1969: An F4 tornado cut a 120-mile-long path from Jefferson through Copiah, Simpson, Smith, Scott and Newton counties in Mississippi, killing 32 and injuring 241 others. Property damage was estimated at $2 million. An inbound Delta Airlines aircraft reported a hook echo on its scope with this storm.

ON THIS DATE IN 1940: A total of 9.5 inches of snow fell at Birmingham in the midst of the city’s longest cold wave. It is the second-largest daily snow total on record, surpassed only by the “Blizzard of 93,” when 13 inches fell.

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