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James Spann: Strong storms later today over parts of west and south Alabama

James Spann forecasts showers, storms for southwest Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

THE DAY AHEAD: Most of Alabama is dry this morning; temperatures are very pleasant over the northern half of the state, where some of the cooler spots are in the 50s. We expect a high in the mid 80s today with a partly sunny sky; an organized batch of rain and storms will move through parts of west and south Alabama this afternoon and this evening, driven by a northwest flow aloft over the region.

The Storm Prediction Center has defined a slight risk (level 2 out of 5) of severe thunderstorms today for the southwest counties of the state, with a marginal risk (level 1) as far west as Hamilton, Centreville and Geneva. Storms in this part of the state this afternoon will be capable of producing strong, gusty winds and some hail. Showers will be hard to find for areas north and east of Birmingham.THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Heat levels begin to rise, and showers will be widely scattered. Look for a high in the upper 80s Saturday, followed by low 90s Sunday. The sky will be partly sunny, and the chance of any one specific location seeing rain both days is 10-20%, mostly during the afternoon and evening.

NEXT WEEK: An upper high builds over the region, and it should be the hottest week so far this year with highs between 92 and 96 degrees most days. Each day will have the risk of a few pop-up afternoon and evening thunderstorms, but they will be widely separated.TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains very quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected over the next five days. The peak of the season usually comes in August and September.

ON THIS DATE IN 1997: Flash flooding occurred in many locations in Mississippi. Highway 80 and many other streets were flooded in and around Vicksburg. Water engulfed one person’s car, but the person was rescued. This event caused $300,000 in property damages. More than 6 inches of rain fell in Lexington in a little more than three hours.

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