May 23, 2024

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Weather News & Forecast

Frost Likely Early Saturday Morning; Warmer Sunday

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DRY APRIL AFTERNOON: It is a breezy, cool April afternoon across Alabama. The sky is sunny, with the exception of some clouds over the northeast corner of the state, and temperatures are mostly in the 60s. Tonight will be clear with a low in the 37-43 degree range. We are not expecting widespread frost early tomorrow since winds will likely remain in the 4-8 range around daybreak.

TOMORROW AND THE WEEKEND: While many communities will dip into the 30s early tomorrow morning, frost formation isn’t especially likely since the wind will remain in the 4-8 mph range overnight. But, frost is likely over the northern half of the state early Saturday morning, and some of the colder pockets will see a freeze. Look for sunny days and fair nights; highs will remain in the 60s tomorrow and Saturday, followed by 70s Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: Monday will be a mostly cloudy day with a chance of showers, then occasional rain and a few thunderstorms are likely Tuesday and Wednesday as a surface low passes through the region. For now severe storms don’t look likely, but rain amounts will be significant with totals of 2-3 inches for the western half of the state; 1-2 inches are likely for the eastern counties.

A few lingering showers are possible Thursday, then dry and mild weather is likely Friday through the following weekend (April 12-14). Highs will be in the 70s… See the video briefing for maps, graphics, and more details.

ECLIPSE WEATHER: Alabama will experience a partial solar eclipse Monday (it peaks around 2p CT)… unfortunately it looks like the sky will be generally cloudy. In the path of totality to the west and north, the best chance of a clear sky is over northern New England and Upstate New York.

ON THIS DATE IN 1977: A large, violent F5 tornado began around 3 pm CST, 4 miles northwest of Birmingham near U.S. Highway 78, and then traveled northeast for 15 miles at 60 mph, crossing the Smithfield Estates neighborhood and then I-65. At its widest point, the tornado was 3/4 of a mile wide. Over 150 homes were damaged with almost 50 destroyed. A total of 22 people were killed with over 130 injured.

Many people do not know that the famous Dr. Theodore Fujita, for whom the Tornado Fujita Intensity Scale is named after, followed this massive tornado and supercell thunderstorm from an airplane. After tracking the storm, Dr. Fujita surveyed the damage and toyed with the idea of rating the Smithfield tornado an F6.

Daniel Payne College near U.S. Highway 78 sustained heavy damage from this massive tornado with estimates over $1 million dollars. The college, opened in 1880, later closed its doors in 1977, likely a result of the enormous cost and amount of damage. There were six other tornadoes on this day including five F2 tornadoes and an F3 tornado across North and Central Alabama.

Soon after the F5 tornado tore through the northern part of Birmingham, the same thunderstorm complex was responsible for the crash of Southern Airways Flight 242 in Georgia.

It was a flight from Huntsville to Atlanta. The passenger jet went down after suffering hail damage and losing thrust on both engines; 63 people on the aircraft (including the flight crew) and nine people on the ground died including a family of seven. Twenty passengers survived, as well as the two flight attendants. One of the initial survivors succumbed to his injuries several weeks later.

A very tragic day in weather history.

Look for the next video briefing here by 6:00 a.m. tomorrow…

James Spann

2024-04-04 20:14:43

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