James Spann: Potential record warmth daily through Saturday

James Spann forecasts a big warm-up for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

SUMMER PREVIEW: We are starting this day with temperatures in the upper 40s and low 50s in most places, but look for a big warm-up today with sunshine in full supply. The high this afternoon will be in the mid 80s, very close to record levels for late March in Alabama.

These are the record highs for March 26:

  • Huntsville — 88 (2007)
  • Tuscaloosa — 87 (2005)
  • Montgomery — 87 (2007)
  • Muscle Shoals — 87 (2007)
  • Birmingham — 86 (1929)
  • Anniston — 86 (2007)
  • Mobile — 86 (1935)

Friday will be partly sunny and very warm, with highs in the mid to upper 80s, at record levels.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Most of the day Saturday will be warm and dry with a mix of sun and clouds; we rise into the 80s again. A cold front will push a weakening band of showers and storms into the state Saturday night. The Storm Prediction Center has the northwest corner of Alabama in a low-end  marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) of severe storms with potential for strong, gusty winds.

But for most of the state severe storms should not be an issue Saturday night, as the main dynamic support will be lifting far north of our state. Rain amounts should be around one-half inch, and most of the rain will come from 9 p.m. Saturday through 4 a.m. Sunday.

Sunday will be cooler with a clearing sky; the high will be in the low 70s.

NEXT WEEK: Monday will be dry with a high in the 72- to 75-degree range; then a fast-moving weather system will bring showers and thunderstorms into the state Tuesday. A few strong storms will be possible, but it is too early to determine if severe weather will be an issue. The rest of the week will be 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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