James Spann: Colder air rolling into Alabama; freeze possible early Friday

ON THE MAPS: A cold front bisects Alabama this afternoon. North of the front, temperatures are only in the 40s and low 50s with a brisk north wind, but south of the front it is close to 80 degrees across the southeast counties of the state. A few rain showers continue in the colder air just north of the front at mid-afternoon; that rain will end soon and the sky will clear this evening.

Temperatures will continue to drop tonight, and a freeze is likely in many places early Friday morning. Look for a low between 27 and 34 degrees for most communities.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Friday will be sunny and cool, with a high between 57 and 61 degrees; then we reach the mid 60s Saturday afternoon with a good supply of sunshine. The day Sunday will be dry with a high in the 60s, but clouds will increase late in the day. Rain returns to the state Sunday night ahead of another cold front.

THANKSGIVING WEEK: Rain ends very early in the day Monday, followed by a clearing sky. Another shot of colder air arrives; temperatures will hold in the 40s over much of north Alabama Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning will bring the coldest temperatures so far this season; look for a low between 22 and 28 degrees.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be mostly sunny but cool, with highs in the 50s. The latest global model data set suggests Thanksgiving Day will remain cool and dry with a high between 56 and 60 degrees. Some rain is possible Friday as a disturbance approaches from the west. It’s too early to know whether rain will be an issue for the Iron Bowl this year.

LUNAR ECLIPSE LATE TONIGHT: We will be able to see a near-total lunar eclipse after midnight tonight, with 99.1% of the Moon in Earth’s shadow at maximum eclipse at 3:03 a.m.; the sky will be clear over Alabama. While the statement “longest partial eclipse of the decade” is technically true, it is not that significant. Next year’s total lunar eclipse on May 16 (visible from the Americas, western Africa and Europe) will be one minute shorter.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the high school games Friday night, the sky will be clear with temperatures falling through the 40s, possibly reaching the upper 30s by the final whistle.

For the college games Saturday:

HUNTINGDON AT BIRMINGHAM-SOUTHERN (noon kickoff at General Krulak Stadium): A sunny day for football with temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees.

FURMAN AT SAMFORD (noon kickoff at Seibert Stadium): The sky will be sunny with temperatures in the low to mid 60s.

NORTH ALABAMA AT HAMPTON (noon CT kickoff at Hampton, Virginia): The sky will be sunny with temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees during the game.

JACKSONVILLE STATE AT EASTERN KENTUCKY (1 p.m. CT kickoff in Richmond, Kentucky): The sky will be partly sunny with a kickoff temperature near 52 degrees, holding in the low to mid 50s during the game.

ARKANSAS AT ALABAMA (2:30 p.m. kickoff at Bryant-Denny Stadium): It will be a sunny afternoon with a kickoff temperature around 65 degrees, falling into the 50s by the fourth quarter.

UAB AT UTSA (2:30 p.m. CT kickoff in San Antonio, Texas): This game will be played inside the Alamodome. Outside, the sky will be partly sunny with afternoon temperatures in the low to mid 70s.

APPALACHIAN STATE AT TROY (2:30 p.m. kickoff at Veterans Memorial Stadium): The sky will be sunny; about 68 degrees at kickoff, falling to near 60 by the final whistle.

AUBURN AT SOUTH CAROLINA (6 p.m. CT kickoff in Columbia, South Carolina): The weather will be clear and cool; temperatures will fall from near 52 at kickoff to near 45 by the final whistle.

SOUTH ALABAMA AT TENNESSEE (6:30 p.m. CT kickoff in Knoxville, Tennessee): The sky becomes mostly cloudy with temperatures falling through the 40s. No risk of rain.

ON THIS DATE IN 1957: An F2 tornado moved through the western and northern part of the Birmingham metro. After touching down in Ensley, the tornado moved northeast through the Pratt area and North Birmingham and eventually into Tarrant. Many homes between 22nd and 24th Streets on 35th and 36th Avenues North were damaged, with numerous large trees down around the area. The Birmingham Airport reported winds of 69 mph and sighted the funnel just to the northwest. Damage in Tarrant was mainly to the industrial area.

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