James Spann: Strong to severe storms expected Monday afternoon, night

Severe weather threats from noon through 6 p.m. Monday.

STORMS OF MARCH: SPC has much of Alabama in the standard "slight risk" of severe weather through Monday night as a storm system moves in from the west. The associated cold front is lined up roughly from Memphis to Dallas/Fort Worth early this morning.

A few showers and a few strong storms are already on radar early this morning over the western half of Alabama, and they will slowly increase during the morning hours. But, the best chance of severe storms will come from about 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m. As discussed in recent days, the overall tornado threat, while not zero, is very small since the main low level shear is well to the northeast of Alabama. But, there will be a high degree of instability (surface based CAPE values over 1,500 j/kg), and a few storms later today could produce hail and strong, gusty, perhaps even damaging straight line winds.

Rain amounts of around one half to one inch are expected, not enough for any flooding issues. The storms will begin to weaken once the sun goes down, and the rain should be over around midnight as the surface front moves through.

COOLER TOMORROW: Sunshine returns to our state tomorrow, but the day will be cooler with a high only in the low 60s with a chilly north breeze. Wednesday should be sunny with a high in the mid 60s on the first "official" day of spring, the day of the vernal equinox.

SPRING FREEZE: Sure looks like we will drop to freezing at daybreak Thursday; the GFS is printing a low of 30 degrees for Birmingham; colder valleys and protected areas should reach the 20s. And, despite a good supply of sunshine, it is doubtful we get out of the 50s Thursday afternoon.

MORE RAIN: Wet weather returns to Alabama at the end of the week on Friday. Unfortunately we will forecast periods of rain Friday through Sunday as an unsettled pattern sets up; this will be the "overrunning" kind of rain with a cool, stable airmass in place, so at least we won't have to worry about strong thunderstorms. Afternoon highs Friday through Sunday will be generally in the 60s. The rain this weekend won't be continuous, but it could rain at any time.

COLD AIR NEXT WEEK: Drier air arrives early next week on Monday, and it will be very brisk for late March. Sure looks like we are headed for another freeze early Tuesday (March 26) and perhaps 3/27 as well. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: A few showers and storms are likely on the Gulf Coast this afternoon and tonight, but the sky will be mostly sunny tomorrow and Wednesday. Then, we will bring back the risk of showers and storms Thursday and Friday. Then, for the coming weekend, only a slight risk of a shower Saturday and Sunday with a partly sunny sky both days. Highs along the immediate coast will be generally in the 60s, with low 70s possible just a few miles inland. The ocean water is cool only 61 degrees (F) at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab early this morning.

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