James Spann: Hot, humid days for Alabama, with few showers

James Spann forecasts highs in the 90s for Alabama through the week from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

HEAT LEVELS RISING: Monday’s official high in Birmingham was 90 degrees, one degree below the average of 91. But today we expect a high in the 92- to 95- degree range as heat levels tick up a bit. The sky will be mostly sunny, and like Monday any afternoon showers will be very hard to find over the northern half of the state.

REST OF THE WEEK: We project highs generally between 92 and 96 degrees Wednesday through Friday with partly sunny days and mostly fair nights. This will make it the hottest week so far this summer for most communities. There will be sufficient moisture for a few popup showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening, but nothing widespread.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The hot, humid summer weather continues, with highs in the low to mid 90s, partly sunny days and the usual risk of a brief afternoon thunderstorm in a few spots — just what you expect in the middle of July in Alabama.

NEXT WEEK: The upper ridge holds and the forecast won’t change much. Look for partly sunny, hot, humid days with the chance of scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs remain in the low to mid 90s, a little above average for the middle of summer.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains very quiet; tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend.

TEXAS HEAT: San Antonio soared to 107 degrees Monday, a new record for that city for the month of July. Other highs included 112 at Del Rio, 108 at Austin and 101 at Dallas/Fort Worth.

ON THIS DATE IN 1980: The great heat wave of 1980 was well underway. Birmingham’s high was 103, keeping alive a string of five straight days of 100-degree-plus readings in the Magic City. That streak would extend to eight days. Starting on July 10, Birmingham’s highs were 101, 102, 104, 106, 103, 102, 105, 105. The string was finally broken on July 18, when powerful storms formed at mid-afternoon, cooling down the temperature just shy of the century mark.

The hottest day of the summer was July 17, when more than 80% of the state reached 100 degrees and nearly one-quarter reached 105. The highest reading on that day was 108 degrees recorded in Bessemer, Aliceville and Jasper. It was 105 in Birmingham that day.

Around the nation, the heat wave claimed between 1,250 and 10,000 lives. Because of the massive drought, agricultural damage estimates totaled more than $50 billion when adjusted for inflation. It is among the billion-dollar weather disasters listed by NOAA.

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