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James Spann: Severe storms possible over northwest Alabama this evening, tonight

James Spann forecasts unsettled weather for northwest Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

ACTIVE PATTERN CONTINUES: A warm front has moved out of Alabama early this morning; radar shows a few showers over the Tennessee Valley just before daybreak. The rest of the state is cloudy with temperatures not too far from 60 degrees. Look for a high in the mid 70s today with a few scattered showers during the morning and midday. Then, strong to severe thunderstorms are possible ahead of a cold front this evening and tonight over parts of north and west Alabama.

The Storm Prediction Center has defined a slight risk (level 2 of 5) for areas west of a line from Huntsville to Jasper to Aliceville. A marginal risk (level 1 of 5) extends as far east as Rainsville, Birmingham and Demopolis.TIMING: The main window for strong to severe thunderstorms is from 5 p.m. until midnight.

THREATS: Storms that form in the slight risk area will be capable of producing strong winds, hail and a tornado or two. The main issue in the marginal risk area will be gusty straight-line winds, but the overall severe weather threat there is not especially high.

RAIN: Additional amounts will exceed 1 inch over north and west Alabama tonight, and a Flash Flood Watch is in effect for areas north of a line from Millport to Cullman to Fort Payne.

As always, be sure you have a way of hearing severe weather warnings tonight if they are needed. Events like this are common in February; our tornado season runs from November through May.

REST OF THE WEEK: The front will become stationary across central Alabama Wednesday. The high will be in the 60s over the northern half of the state, with 70s to the south. A few showers are possible, but they should be widely spaced. The front lifts northward Wednesday night, and Thursday will be very mild, with a high between 74 and 78 degrees for most places. Most of the day Thursday will be dry, with only isolated showers.

Another cold front will bring rain to the state after midnight Thursday night into Friday morning; severe storms are not expected. Cooler air returns Friday, with afternoon temperatures hovering in the low 50s over the northern half of the state.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be mostly cloudy with a few scattered showers possible; the high will be close to 50 degrees. Another wave on the front to the south will bring rain Saturday night; it will end early Sunday and the sky will clear by Sunday afternoon. Temperatures reach the mid 50s.

NEXT WEEK: For now the week looks mostly rain-free with temperatures a little below average for early March in Alabama.

ON THIS DATE IN 1998: Seven tornadoes struck east-central Florida late on this date and early on Feb. 23. Three of the tornadoes were rated F3 on the Fujita scale. A total of 42 people were killed, 24 in Kissimmee alone, with 265 injured. Total damage was $106 million.

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