James Spann: Hot, humid summer weather continues for Alabama

HOT SUMMER WEATHER: Temperatures are mostly in the low to mid 90s across Alabama this afternoon with a partly to mostly sunny sky. We note a few isolated storms, mainly over the southern half of the state. Those isolated thunderstorms will end this evening and the sky will be mostly fair overnight.

REST OF THE WEEK: We project highs in the 93- to 98-degree range Wednesday through Friday, with partly sunny days and mostly fair nights. During the peak of the heat each afternoon and evening we will have potential for a few showers and thunderstorms, but they should be pretty isolated. Odds of any one spot getting wet each day will be about 1 in 5.

THE WEEKEND AND NEXT WEEK: The overall upper-air pattern won’t change — a classic midsummer look. We have a ridge in place across the Deep South, with the main jet stream and wave action far to the north. Look for partly sunny, hot, humid days with the usual risk of random, widely scattered showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening hours. Highs will be mostly in the mid 90s, a little above average for this time of the year.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains very quiet; tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend. But most are expecting a significant uptick in activity next month and into September.

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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