James Spann: Rain returns to Alabama Sunday

COLD, DRY DAY: Temperatures are between 35 and 45 degrees across most of Alabama this afternoon with a mostly sunny sky. Tonight will be fair and cold, with a low well down in the 20s again.

Look for a nice warm-up Saturday; after the subfreezing low, temperatures rise into the mid 50s Saturday afternoon with a good supply of sunshine. Clouds will increase Saturday night, and rain becomes widespread across the state Sunday ahead of the next approaching cold front. We expect rain amounts between 1 and 2 inches for the northern half of the state, and a few thunderstorms are possible as well as the air becomes a bit unstable (the high Sunday will be in the low 60s). Severe storms are not expected at this point.

NEXT WEEK: Look for clearing and colder weather Monday following the front; the high will drop down into the mid to upper 40s. Dry weather is the story Tuesday through Thursday with seasonal temperatures. Some rain is possible on Friday, Jan. 14, but for now it doesn’t look like a major rain event.

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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