Sunday Weather Xtreme: Rain Chances for Race Day

| October 3, 2021 @ 7:35 am

It’s Race Day in Alabama! The Yellawood 500 is set for 1 p.m. today at the Talladega Speedway. Tens of thousands of NASCAR fans had better extend their hotel reservations by one more night because of a high chance of rain. Let’s get into the details of a potentially wet forecast.

LET ‘EM GO HAROLD: The familiar cry of the Talladega fan in the 80s, urging the starter to drop the green flag. I think we will be able to get the race in today, despite high chances of rain. Keep the rain gear handy if you will be at the track today. But the showers, while they will be heavy, should have enough spacing to let ‘em go!

ON THE WEATHER MAPS: There is a weakness in the ridge over the southeastern United States. On top of that, moisture levels are sky high, with precipitable water values pushing 200% of normal. A shortwave passing to the north of us today will help to stir the pot and produce today’s good rain chances. Rainfall amounts could be heavy at times, but we have been dry enough lately to tamp down any potential flooding threats. Highs across the area today will be in the upper 70s.

NEW WORK WEEK: The trough will actually amplify and extend back to the southwest over the next couple of days, eventually closing off into an upper low over the lower Mississippi Valley. Some slightly drier air will try to work in behind a front that will reach Northwest Alabama on Monday, but it will stall near I-59 Monday night. The upper low will force the front to retreat to the northwest on Tuesday. Alabama will remain in the soup, and rain chances will remain high Monday and Tuesday. Highs will be in the upper 70s. Lows will be in the 60s.

MIDWEEK: The upper low will gradually weaken and open up, leaving a weakness over the Deep South. Rain chances will remain pretty high on Wednesday, but will start decreasing as we head later in the week. Highs through the end of the week will be in the upper 70s. Lows will be near 60F.

NEXT WEEKEND: The upper low should be a thing of the past by Saturday, and some decent autumn weather will be the result. Highs will be in the lower 80s, lows in the lower 60s. Rain chances will be nearly non-existent.

VOODOO TERRITORY: It looks like another cold front will sweep through the area on Thursday night the 14th. This will set the stage for a fine fall weekend when highs will be in the upper 60s and 70s, and lows will be in the 40s and 50s.

TROPICS: Hurricane Sam has been impressive to say the least, maintaining its Category Four status for all but 18 hours over a 8 day period that finally ended yesterday afternoon. That puts Sam in the top ten for all hurricanes in the Atlantic for consecutive days at Cat 4 intensity. Wind max winds slowly diminishing, Sam is located 650 miles northeast of Bermuda, accelerating to the northeast, heading toward the open Atlantic. It brushed the island nation Friday night, producing wind gusts to around 35 mph and a few light rain showers. Elsewhere, Victor has been the victim of strong southwesterly shear and lots of dry, dust-laden Saharan air off of Africa. It is expected to be downgraded to a remnant low today. Nothing else is threatening to develop into a tropical cyclone over the next five days. Our eyes will be on the western Caribbean in about a week to ten days as an upward pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation moves into the region, which is climatologically favored for development this time of year.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Showers and storms are a good bet along the beautiful beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida in coming days. Rip currents are not expected to be a problem, with surf heights only running around 1 foot except near thunderstorms. Highs will be in the lower 80s. Lows will be near 70. Water temperatures are running right around 80F.

DANCING WITH THE STATS: Three inches of snow Friday at Fairbanks AK was a record for the date.

LOOKING THROUGH THE PRISM: The PRISM Climate Group month to date temperature data for September shows that most of Alabama was comfortably mild to slightly cool. It’s been feast or famine across the North and Central part of the state, with some areas drier than normal, some areas much wetter. Even across Jefferson County alone, much of the real estate was way drier than normal, but I picked up 4.08 inches here just off Acton road and I-459, a little above normal for that time period.

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WEATHERBRAINS: I hope you have listened to or watched last week’s fabulous show with former Director of the National Hurricane Center, Dr. Neil Frank. He is 90 years young and still looks and sounds like he did when he was running the Center in the 70s and 80s. Check out the show at You can also subscribe on iTunes. You can watch the show live at: You will be able to see the show on the James Spann 24×7 weather channel on cable or directly over the air on the dot 2 feed.

ON THIS DATE IN 1963: Hurricane Flora moves across the south coast of Haiti and then meanders across eastern Cuba for the next five days, lashing the island with winds of 100 mph or more for 100 hours or more. Rainfall amounts were astronomical, with as much as 90 inches being reported near Velasco. More rain was reported at Guantanamo Bay from Flora than was reported during the entire year of 1962. Flora is the second deadliest hurricane ever in the Atlantic, with over 7000 deaths. Follow my weather history tweets on Twitter. I am @wxhistorian at

Category: Alabama's Weather, ALL POSTS, Tropical

About the Author ()

Bill Murray is the President of The Weather Factory. He is the site's official weather historian and a weekend forecaster. He also anchors the site's severe weather coverage. Bill Murray is the proud holder of National Weather Association Digital Seal #0001 @wxhistorian

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