James Spann: Alabama stays dry through Saturday with mild afternoons

BIG WARM-UP: Many Alabama communities that were below freezing this morning have warmed into the mid 60s this afternoon with sunshine in full supply. The 40-degree climb means the air is very dry, and dry weather will continue across Alabama through the beginning of the weekend.

After a clear night tonight with a low between 35 and 45 degrees, look for sunny days for the rest of the week with mild afternoons. The high will be in the upper 60s Wednesday, followed by low to mid 70s Thursday and Friday.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be dry with a partly sunny sky; temperatures will climb into the low to mid 70s again, almost 15 degrees above average for early December in Alabama. Sunday looks mostly dry, although we will mention some risk of isolated showers during the day with a mix of sun and clouds. Sunday will be another mild day with a high at or over 70 degrees. Rain becomes likely late Sunday night ahead of an approaching cold front.

NEXT WEEK: Rain will end from the northwest across Alabama during the day Monday, and cooler air returns with a high in the mid to upper 50s. Tuesday looks dry with a high in the low 60s; then the weather over the latter half of the week looks a bit unsettled, with periods of rain and possibly a few thunderstorms.

HURRICANE SEASON ENDS: Today marks the last day of the 2021 hurricane season. There were 21 named storms, although a number of them were weak, short-lived systems far from land. There were seven hurricanes, four of them reaching “major” status. Of those, only one U.S. hurricane landfall involved a major storm: Hurricane Ida, which slammed into Port Fourchon, Louisiana, on Aug. 29 with Category 4 maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. Ida killed 91 people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NOAA estimated Ida inflicted almost $65 billion in damage. That’s the fifth-costliest tropical cyclone in U.S. history behind only Katrina, Harvey, Maria and Sandy.

ON THIS DATE IN 1925: An extremely rare late November hurricane began to affect the west coast of Florida as it strengthened during the day. The storm made landfall very early on Dec. 1 south of Tampa Bay, weakened to a tropical storm as it crossed central Florida and exited around St. Augustine. The storm regained hurricane strength off Jacksonville late Dec. 1. Heavy rain continued over northeast Florida on Dec. 2. Gale-force winds were reported from the Keys to Jacksonville and more than 50 people lost their lives, mostly on ships at sea. Damage along the coast south of Jacksonville was heavy, and excessive rain and wind seriously damaged citrus and truck crops.

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