James Spann: Scattered showers, storms develop in Alabama later today

James Spann forecasts humid days for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

OCEAN OF HUMIDITY: A muggy air mass will hang over Alabama for at least the next five to seven days, meaning each day we will deal with random, scattered showers and thunderstorms. In this pattern, there isn’t any way of knowing exactly when and where the storms form; if you have something planned outdoors just keep a close eye on radar and get inside when you hear thunder. The radar is very quiet early this morning, but by midday showers will begin to develop as the air heats up and becomes unstable. The chance of any one spot getting wet today and Friday is about 1 in 2. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s, about what you expect around here in June.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Scattered showers and storms remain possible Saturday and Sunday, but it won’t rain everywhere. Look for a mix of sun and clouds both days with highs in the 80s. Model data suggests there could be a decrease in the number of showers Sunday as we could be in the subsidence ring (sinking air) on the periphery of Tropical Storm Cristobal.

NEXT WEEK: The coverage of scattered showers and storms will likely be a bit higher on Monday as Cristobal moves northward through Louisiana and Arkansas, but the general pattern won’t change much — partly sunny, warm, humid days with a few passing showers or storms from time to time. Highs will remain mostly in the mid to upper 80s through the week. There is some hint we could see drier air toward the end of the week, but we will believe it when we see it.

TROPICAL STORM CRISTOBAL: This morning the system continues to weaken; winds are down to 40 mph. The center of Tropical Storm Cristobal is over southern Mexico and is basically stationary. A movement toward the east and northeast is expected later today, and a subsequent northward motion should occur through Saturday. On the forecast track, the center will move over the land mass of eastern Mexico today and tonight. The center is forecast to move back over the southern Gulf of Mexico Friday or Friday night, and over the central Gulf of Mexico on Saturday.

There’s no change in the National Hurricane Center forecast track; the tropical storm is expected to move into the Louisiana coast Sunday night with winds of 60-65 mph.

The circulation center will move through Louisiana and Arkansas Monday and Monday night while weakening.

IMPACT FOR THE ALABAMA/NORTHWEST FLORIDA COAST: This discussion is for the area from Dauphin Island eastward through Gulf Shores, Destin and Panama City Beach. This part of the coast will be on the wet, east side of the system.

  • The sky will be partly sunny along the central Gulf Coast today and Friday with the usual risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms. Expect about five to seven hours of sunshine both days.
  • Coverage of showers and thunderstorms will increase over the weekend, but the rain won’t be continuous, and you should see a few intervals of sunshine both days. Rain could be occasionally heavy, and we expect totals in the 2- to 4-inch range Saturday through Monday. Some flooding is possible in isolated areas, but the higher flood risk is to the west, along the Mississippi coast and southeast Louisiana.

  • Showers will thin out Monday, and the weather looks pretty routine for much of next week with partly sunny days and the usual risk of a passing shower or storm from time to time.
  • Dangerous rip currents are likely along the coast today through Sunday.

  • A few isolated waterspouts or brief tornadoes are possible Sunday and Sunday night.
  • Winds of 15-25 mph are likely Sunday and Sunday night with gusts to 30 mph. Higher wind velocities will remain to the west of the Alabama coast.

If it was me, I would not hesitate to go to Gulf Shores, Destin or Panama City Beach this weekend. But, of course, different people go to the beach for different reasons.

ON THIS DATE IN 1877: A tornado of estimated F4 intensity touched down just west of Mt. Carmel, Illinois, and moved east-northeast, devastating the town. Twenty businesses and 100 homes were damaged or destroyed. At least 16 people and as many as 30 were killed, with 100 others injured.

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