James Spann: Alabama’s summer preview continues through Saturday

SUNNY, WARM AFTERNOON: Temperatures are mostly in the 78- to 85-degree range across Alabama this afternoon with a clear sky. The average high for Birmingham on March 26 is 69. Tonight will be clear with a low in the 60s.

FRIDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND: Friday will feature a partly sunny sky with afternoon temperatures near record levels. We project highs between 84 and 88 degrees for most communities, a good 15 degrees above average. Here are record highs for March 27:

  • Birmingham — 89 (1919)
  • Montgomery — 89 (1910)
  • Tuscaloosa — 85 (2012)
  • Anniston — 84 (1994)

The day Saturday will be warm and mostly dry. Any showers will be few and far between. Once again, we will be flirting with record highs. Then a band of showers and thunderstorms will move into the state Saturday night ahead of a cold front. The Storm Prediction Center has defined a low-end, marginal risk of severe thunderstorms for the northwest corner of the state, where gusty winds will be possible as the line approaches.

The storms should be weakening as they move into the state, and with the main dynamic support passing far to the north, severe storms are not expected over the rest of the state. On Sunday, the sky becomes partly sunny as cooler, drier air moves in. Sunday’s high will be in the 69- to 73-degree range.

NEXT WEEK: Monday will be dry and mild, but a fast-moving weather system will bring a chance of showers and thunderstorms to the state Tuesday. It’s too early to determine if severe storms will be an issue. The rest of the week looks dry with seasonal temperatures.

LAST FREEZE? Alabama’s weather will be very warm over the next few days, but we almost always have a late-season freeze during the first half of April. The latest freeze on record at Birmingham came on April 23, 1986, when the low was 30. The coldest April temperature on record at Birmingham is 26, measured on April 11, 1973. Birmingham received 5 inches of snow on April 3, 1987. The latest guidance from the Climate Prediction Center suggests below-average temperatures April 2-8. Every year I advise waiting until April 15 to plant anything that might be harmed by a freeze.

ON THIS DATE IN 2009: An EF-0 tornado moved through Alabaster in Shelby County. It touched down briefly near the intersection of Kent Dairy Road and County Road 17 just north of Maylene, causing sporadic damage as the storm moved to the east. The end of the damage path was on the east side of Interstate 65 near exit 238. Numerous trees were snapped and uprooted and three homes were damaged along the path from trees falling on them. An EF-1 tornado moved through parts of Lamar and Fayette counties the same day.

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