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James Spann forecasts a dry start for Thanksgiving week in Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

COOL, DRY AUTUMN DAY: A new surge of cool, dry air arrived last night following a cold front that brought a few light showers to north Alabama. Today will feature sunshine in full supply with a high between 58 and 63 degrees; the average high for Birmingham on Nov. 23 is 63. It can be very warm around Thanksgiving here; the record high today is 80, set in 1921.

We drop into the mid to upper 30s early Tuesday morning; some of the colder spots could see a light freeze. Then, with a sunny sky we are forecasting a high Tuesday afternoon not too far from 70.

RAIN RETURNS: An approaching cold front will bring a round of showers and thunderstorms to Alabama Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night. The Storm Prediction Center has defined a low-end marginal risk for the northwest counties of the state.

Thankfully there won’t be much instability with this system, which will really limit severe weather potential. A few storms could produce small hail and strong, gusty winds. For now we are not expecting a tornado threat; low-level winds veer more west-southwesterly during the afternoon and evening as the primary low-level jet shifts north of Alabama and into the Ohio Valley. Rain amounts of around 1 inch are likely.

THANKSGIVING DAY/FRIDAY: The surface front will stall out somewhere across central Alabama Thursday. For now, it looks like periods of rain will remain possible Thanksgiving Day mainly over the southern half of the state; otherwise the day will be mostly cloudy with a high in the low to mid 70s. The situation Friday will be pretty much the same; some rain is possible, mainly over south Alabama, with highs in the 70s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The stalled front will creep northward as a warm front, and periods of rain are likely Saturday, maybe a thunderstorm in spots. It won’t rain all day, but we will need to mention a chance of rain for the biggest football game of the year in Alabama. This year’s Iron Bowl is in Tuscaloosa; kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. We will be much more specific about game-time conditions in coming days. The temperature will be mild, with a high around 70 degrees.

A fairly dynamic weather system will begin to affect Alabama Sunday, and that could set the stage for strong, possibly severe thunderstorms. We need to get past Wednesday’s event before we can really focus on the Sunday situation, but it could be an active weather day for the Deep South.

NEXT WEEK: Much colder air rolls into Alabama early next week; the weather will be dry with highs in the 50s and lows in the 20s and 30s. For some it will be the coldest weather so far this year.

TROPICS: A broad area of low pressure a couple of hundred miles northeast of the southeast Bahamas is producing disorganized cloudiness and showers well to the northeast and east of its center. Strong upper-level winds are expected to limit development of the system today before the low merges with a cold front Tuesday. Later in the week, this system may have another opportunity to develop subtropical characteristics if it becomes separated from the front and meanders over the central Atlantic. It will have no impact on the U.S. one way or another, and the rest of the Atlantic basin is quiet. The hurricane season ends in seven days.

ON THIS DATE IN 2004: A two-day flash flood and severe weather event initiated across Alabama. The most destructive weather occurred during the early morning of the following day, Nov. 24. A total of 16 tornadoes touched down across the state, including an F2 in east Alabama that killed a 75-year-old woman in Bynum. A long-track F2 moved through parts of Chilton and Coosa counties; the damage path was 49.1 miles long.

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