James Spann: The heat is on in Alabama

MOSTLY DRY THROUGH WEDNESDAY: A few tiny showers are on radar across Alabama this afternoon, but you could count them on one hand and they are only lasting about 10-15 minutes. Otherwise, the sky is partly to mostly sunny with temperatures generally in the 88- to 93-degree range. Tonight will be mostly fair and humid.

TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY: Most of north and central Alabama will be dry with hot afternoons, the hottest weather we have seen so far this summer. With a good supply of sunshine both days, we project a high in the mid 90s Tuesday and then in the 95- to 98-degree range Wednesday. Birmingham’s hottest temperature so far this summer is 94, recorded on June 20, June 2 and July 3. There’s a good chance we exceed that, if not Tuesday, on Wednesday.

A few scattered showers or storms are possible in the heat Wednesday afternoon over the southern half of the state.

THURSDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND: Moisture levels will rise, and we will bring back the chance of random, scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms Thursday through Sunday. It won’t be anything widespread, but at least a few cooling showers will be around during the peak of the day each day. Highs will be mostly in the 92- to 95-degree range, slightly above average for mid-July in Alabama, with partly sunny days and fair nights.

NEXT WEEK: It’s that time of the year when a persistence forecast works best. The main mid-latitude westerly winds aloft will be well to the north, and an upper ridge will be in place. Look for partly sunny days with the daily round of scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs remain between 92 and 95 degrees on most days.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the week.

OUR LAST 100: Birmingham’s last 100-degree day came last summer, on Aug. 18, when the high was 100. The hottest day of last summer was Aug. 13, when the high was 101.

MEASURING TEMPERATURES IN SUMMER: Just a reminder as we go through the week — consumer-class thermometers, along with car and bank sign thermometers, don’t perform well on hot summer days in Alabama. They often wind up measuring the temperature of the instrument casing as opposed to the actual air temperature. They can be as much as 20 degrees off the correct value (too hot).

To measure temperature properly, the thermometer needs to be in an instrument shelter, painted white, with excellent ventilation, about 4 feet off the ground over grass. Around here an aspirating fan is also needed in most shelters. Unfortunately some of the FAA AWOS sites have accuracy issues as well; some of the data is used by phone apps, meaning you might see an inaccurate reading there as well. The site at Jasper (KJFX) has been problematic for several years.

ON THIS DATE IN 1951: Rivers across eastern Kansas crested well above flood stage, causing the most significant destruction from flooding in the Midwestern United States at that time. In all, 500,000 people were left homeless and 24 people died in the disaster.

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