James Spann: Big temperature difference again for Alabama today

James Spann forecasts light rain for Alabama today, torrential rain Thursday from the Alabama News Center on Vimeo.

THIS MORNING: A cold front cuts through Alabama early in the morning. Temperatures are in the 30s and 40s north of the frontline; mild air is south of the frontline, with 60s in much of southeastern Alabama. Light rain and drizzle continue in the frigid air north of the frontline and counties Colbert, Lauderdale and Limestone are still on a winter weather warning. Thankfully, temperatures there are generally a degree or two above freezing, but keep an eye out for patchy bridge ice in the northwest corner of the state until mid-morning.

We have potential for patchy light rain and drizzle throughout the day, but more significant precipitation will unfold west of Alabama, where winter storm and ice storm warnings are in place for much of Texas, Arkansas, and western Tennessee. Temperatures won’t get above the 40s in northern Alabama today, but communities near the Gulf Coast will see low 70s.

As the upper main trough lifts out of the US Southwest, we expect a major soak for the northern two-thirds of the state Thursday and Thursday night with rainfall of 1 to 2 inches. Crowds will be lighter over the southern quarter of the state, but some strong storms are possible there in the afternoon and evening; The Storm Prediction Center has defined a marginal risk (Level 1 of 5) for areas south of a line from Jackson through Evergreen to the Ozark.

Storms in far south Alabama Thursday afternoon and evening could produce gusty winds, and a brief, isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. But for most of Alabama, there will only be rain in a cool, stable air mass.

FRIDAY AND WEEKEND: Dry weather returns. Sky will be mostly sunny on Friday and the weekend looks dry with sunny skies on Saturday and partly sunny skies on Sunday. The high will be in the 40’s and 50’s on Friday, followed by the 50’s and 60’s over the weekend.

NEXT WEEK: Monday and Tuesday will be dry and mild with highs in the 60s over northern Alabama and the 70s in the south. There is some risk of rain Wednesday through Thursday, followed by another shot of dry air by the end of the week. There is no sign of bitterly cold arctic air for the deep south until mid-February.ON THIS DAY IN 1955: First seen as a “well-defined cone-shaped funnel” over the Mississippi River, an F3 tornado cut a path from Commerce Landing to Clark in northeast Mississippi. This tornado killed 20 and injured at least 141 people. Most of the deaths occurred at a plantation school.

ON THIS DAY IN 1996: A spell of freezing rain followed by light snow brought traffic to a complete halt in northern Alabama. Ice accumulations of up to 1 inch have toppled numerous trees and caused power outages. Several chicken coops in the north of the state collapsed under the weight of ice and snow.

BEACH FORECAST: Click here to view the AlabamaWx Beach Forecast Center page.

For more weather news and information from James Spann and his team, visit AlabamaWx.