James Spann: Highs in the 80s for Alabama through Friday, then much cooler

RADAR CHECK: Showers are almost impossible to find across Alabama this afternoon, despite a surface front nearby that is stalled out near the northwest corner of the state. We have a mix of sun and clouds, and temperatures are mostly in the low to mid 80s. A few spotty showers could still develop this evening, but most places will remain dry tonight.

Our weather will be warm and dry Wednesday and Thursday; the sky will be partly to mostly sunny both days with highs between 84 and 87 degrees.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: The day Friday will be warm and dry, with a high between 83 and 86 degrees. Clouds will increase late in the day, and showers are possible Friday night ahead of a sharp cold front that will bring a big weather change for the weekend. Rain amounts Friday night will be light with limited moisture, and there is no risk of severe storms. For now it looks like the best chance of showers will come from about 6 p.m. Friday through 8 a.m. Saturday.

Rain ends early Saturday morning. The sky becomes partly to mostly sunny and the day will be much cooler, with a high between 68 and 72 degrees. A north wind of 10-20 mph will make it feel cooler. Temperatures will drop into the 40s early Sunday morning with a clear sky and diminishing wind. Sunday will be a picture-perfect autumn day with sunshine in full supply and a high around 70 degrees.

NEXT WEEK: Global models continue to suggest next week will be dry with very pleasant days, cool nights, highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains quiet today and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend. Over in the eastern Pacific, Pamela is now a hurricane, and the center is about 260 miles southwest of Mazatlan, Mexico. Sustained winds are 80 mph and landfall is expected on the Pacific Coast of Mexico after midnight tonight.

While the system will rapidly weaken over Mexico Wednesday, moisture from Pamela will move into Texas Thursday, with potential for heavy rain in a broad zone from Del Rio to Dallas/Fort Worth.

GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A G2 moderate geomagnetic storm affected the high latitudes last night and early this morning. A vivid display of the Northern Lights was seen over most of Canada and the far northern U.S. The storm was sparked by a coronal mass ejection. This is a large expulsion of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun’s corona.

ON THIS DATE IN 1979: The lowest barometric pressure ever recorded occurs in the center of Typhoon Tip on this day. A fly reconnaissance mission recorded the low pressure of 870 hPa or 25.69 inHg. Typhoon Tip was the most extensive tropical cyclone on record, with a wind diameter of 1,380 miles at its peak.

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