James Spann: A sunny, cold Friday for Alabama

James Spann forecasts a cold but sunny Friday for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

COLD START: Temperatures across the northern half of Alabama early this morning are generally between 18 and 28 degrees, with wind chill indices between 10 and 18. We have seen a few reports of light snow flurries across the Tennessee Valley in the cold air. Lingering clouds will give way to a sunny sky today, and we project a high between 37 and 42 degrees this afternoon. The average high for Birmingham on Jan. 7 is 54.

Tonight will be cold again; most places will start the day Saturday in the mid 20s. A warming trend begins Saturday afternoon; with a mostly sunny sky we expect a high in the mid 50s. Clouds will increase Saturday night, and widespread rain returns to the state Sunday ahead of another cold front. Temperatures reach 58 to 62 degrees Sunday afternoon and some thunder is possible, but no severe storms are forecast. This will be a good rain event; north and central Alabama will likely see 1-2 inches of rain, with one-half inch to 1 inch for the southern counties.

NEXT WEEK: Dry, colder weather is the story Monday and Tuesday. With a sunny sky we expect highs in the upper 40s and lows in the 20s. Some light rain could return on Friday, Jan. 14, but the system for now looks weak and disorganized. For now we see no high-impact weather events for the next seven to 10 days.

ON THIS DATE IN 1873: A blizzard raged across the Great Plains. Many pioneers, unprepared for the cold and snow, perished in the tristate region of southwest Minnesota, northwestern Iowa and southeastern South Dakota. Visibility was down to 3 feet. Cows suffocated in the deep drifts, and trains were stuck for days. More than 70 people died; some bodies were not found until spring.

The following appears on pages 260-261 in the “History of Dakota Territory” by George Kingsbury. “On the 7th of January, 1873, a brother and sister of ‘John Foster,’ aged respectively 14 and 12 years, went a short distance from home and soon afterward a blizzard came up suddenly. The children wandered in the storm to an old sod house that stood out on the prairie and there sought shelter from the driving snow. However, as the house was roofless, it afforded but poor protection against the blizzard, and the children perished, their bodies being buried in the snow. Our subject and the father were absent from home at the time. Weeks passed, and despite continued searching, the bodies of the children were not found, but in March, a neighbor dreamed that the children were in the old house, and on the 16th of that month, their bodies were found there.”

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