James Spann: Occasional showers, storms continue for Alabama

RADAR CHECK: At mid-afternoon, rain is concentrated over parts of east and south Alabama; heavier downpours are lined up in the broad zone from Mobile to Dothan, and northeast of Birmingham. The sky is mostly cloudy over the rest of the state, although the sun is out over parts of west and southeast Alabama. Temperatures are well below average, with readings around 80 degrees at most locations. We will maintain the chance of showers tonight in the moist, unstable air over Alabama and the Deep South.

The National Weather Service in Huntsville maintains a Flash Flood Watch for the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama tonight. But stronger storms could dump heavy rain on any part of Alabama in this kind of air mass.

TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY: The weather will remain unsettled with the upper trough in place. Tuesday will be much like today, mostly cloudy with occasional showers and thunderstorms. Temperatures won’t get past the low 80s in most communities with only a limited amount of sun. On Wednesday and Thursday, the sky will be occasionally cloudy with scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms. Afternoon highs will be in the low to mid 80s.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: We expect a mix of sun and clouds on these three days with scattered showers and thunderstorms, most numerous between 1 and 11 p.m. The chance of any one spot getting wet is 45-55% Friday and Saturday, dropping to 30-40% Sunday. Heat levels will be creeping up; we expect upper 80s Friday and Saturday, and low 90s are possible by Sunday afternoon as the showers become fewer in number.

NEXT WEEK: Global models continue to suggest an upper ridge will begin to nose into our region from the west, meaning the weather will trend hotter and drier. We still will have the risk of a few random, pop-up afternoon storms each day, but we should see a decent amount of sun through the week with highs mostly in the low 90s.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin is very quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the next five to seven days. The peak of the season comes in August, September and early October most years.

RAIN UPDATE: Here are rain totals since Jan. 1, and the departure from average:

  • Mobile — 48.5 inches (10.78 inches above normal)
  • Tuscaloosa — 44.31 (13.04 above normal)
  • Birmingham — 40.04 (6.42 above normal)
  • Huntsville — 38.02 (6.09 above normal)
  • Dothan — 37.56 (6.98 above normal)
  • Muscle Shoals — 35.94 (3.95 above normal)
  • Montgomery — 32.28 (2.55 above normal)
  • Anniston — 31.52 (0.29 above normal)

ON THIS DATE IN 1997: Hurricane Danny moved to the mouth of Mobile Bay near Fort Morgan just before dawn. The hurricane then drifted into southern Mobile Bay and stalled. It finally made landfall near Mullet Point at midday as a Category 1 hurricane. Danny drifted across Baldwin County through the rest of the day and into the morning of July 20. The weakening cyclone finally turned north late in the day and moved over the extreme northwest Florida panhandle before proceeding to move north and northeast over Alabama for the next two days.

Radar estimated an incredible 43 inches of storm total rain over the open water in Mobile Bay. Observing sites reported 30-40 inches across the area with Dauphin Island reporting 36.71 inches. Numerous roads were inundated and impassable for days after Hurricane Danny. Record flooding caused major damage to homes along the Fowl River in Mobile County and the Fish River in Baldwin County.

ON THIS DATE IN 2006: A derecho affected a sellout crowd of almost 44,000 St. Louis Cardinals fans packed into the new Busch Stadium. Winds of about 80 mph whirled around the St. Louis area, sending the fans running for shelter. The winds knocked out power and broke windows out of the press box. Nearly two minutes after the winds began at 100 mph, they stopped and it started to rain. About 30 people were injured at the stadium.

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