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James Spann: Alabama stays wet through Friday; Flood Watch issued

James Spann has a wet midweek forecast for Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

WET: Expect waves of rain across Alabama through Friday as a very wet pattern develops. A Flood Watch has been issued for the northern two-thirds of the state tonight through Thursday night; rain amounts of 2-4 inches are expected with potential for some flooding.

A few strong thunderstorms are possible across parts of west and southwest Alabama Thursday and Thursday night; the Storm Prediction Center has defined a marginal risk (level 1 of 5) for the broad area from Tuscaloosa to Mobile and the Gulf Coast.

The main threat in Alabama will come from strong, gusty winds; there is a low-end tornado threat to the west over parts of south Mississippi and southeast Louisiana.

The high will be around 60 today, followed by upper 60s Thursday. Friday will be sharply colder, with temperatures holding in the 30s over the northern third of the state. By Friday afternoon the best chance of rain will shift down into south Alabama.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be mostly cloudy with a high in the mid to upper 40s. A wave could squeeze out a few sprinkles or flurries late in the day or Saturday night, but probably nothing significant. On Sunday, expect a clearing sky with a high in the mid 50s.

NEXT WEEK: For now the week looks dry with seasonal temperatures — highs in the 50s, lows in the 30s.

TO THE NORTH: A major winter storm will bring snow and ice from Texas to northern New England. An Ice Storm Warning has been issued for the Memphis area, where ice accumulation could exceed a quarter of an inch in spots; power outages are possible there. But all of this wintry precipitation will stay north of Alabama.

ON THIS DATE IN 1985: North Alabama was in the midst of a severe ice storm. During the event, up to 11 inches of ice and sleet would accumulate in Florence, making it the worst storm there since the big New Year’s Eve snowstorm in 1963. The brunt of the storm affected areas north and northwest of Birmingham, including much of Lauderdale, Colbert, Franklin, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Morgan, Cullman and Winston counties and parts of Walker County. A total of 20 buildings collapsed under the weight of the ice.

This was part of an arctic outbreak that lasted from late January through early February 1985. Four states recorded their all-time record low temperatures, including Tower, Minnesota, with a reading of 60 degrees below zero, canceling Tower’s annual Icebox Days festival. Locations that reported their all-time record low or tied it included Cresco, Iowa, minus 36 degrees; Osage, Iowa, minus 34; Charles City, Iowa, minus 32; and Lancaster, Wisconsin, minus 31. International Falls, Minnesota, and Glasgow, Montana, set records for February with minus 45 degrees and minus 38 degrees, respectively.

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