James Spann: Warmer in Alabama today; much colder Friday night

James Spann forecasts a warm-up for Alabama today from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

DRY WEATHER CONTINUES: Temperatures are mostly in the 20s over the northern half of Alabama this morning, but we expect a nice warm-up today. With a partly to mostly sunny sky, temperatures reach the mid 50s in most places this afternoon. The average high for Birmingham on Jan. 27 is 55.

Clouds return to the state Friday as a cold front passes through. Low levels will remain dry, and no rain is expected with the front. Colder air begins to arrive as temperatures will hold in the 40s over north Alabama during the day.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The sky will clear Friday night, and by daybreak Saturday temperatures will drop into the 18- to 23-degree range over the northern half of the state. Saturday will be sunny and cold, with a high between 37 and 42 degrees. On Sunday, after a low in the 20s, temperatures rise into the 50s by afternoon with a good supply of sunshine.

NEXT WEEK: The weather will be dry and pleasant Monday and Tuesday, with highs in the upper 50s and low 60s. Unsettled weather is likely over the latter half of the week with the approach of a slow-moving cold front. Some thunderstorms will be possible, but it’s too early to know whether severe storms will become an issue. Colder air will likely return by Friday or Saturday, Feb. 4-5.

ON THIS DATE IN 1940: Alabama was locked in a severe cold wave. The snow had come on Jan. 23-24. There was more than a foot in parts of north Alabama. One inch fell as far south as Montgomery. Bitter, bitter cold followed the snow.

At Birmingham Airport, the temperature dropped to 8 below on Jan. 27. The city was covered with 7 inches of snow. There was ice skating on the Black Warrior River at Birmingport with ice on the river 4 inches thick. The ice was 7 inches thick on creeks running into the river. The Cullman area was very hard hit by the unusually severe winter storm. Over a 13-inch blanket of snow, the Cullman temperature plunged to a bitter 16 below zero. Anniston was buried under an 11-inch blanket of snow.

ON THIS DATE IN 1989: Bitter cold air gripped most of Alaska. Tanana, near Fairbanks, saw a low temperature of 76 degrees below zero. The high for the day was 60 degrees below zero. Tanana saw an average temperature of 68 degrees below zero, nearly 60 degrees below normal. McGrath, Alaska, recorded a wind chill of minus 100 degrees, the lowest wind chill ever observed in the U.S. at a populated location.

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