Severe weather expected for Friday

Published 5:08 pm Thursday, January 11, 2024

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The US. National Weather Service reported that the severe weather expected for Friday, Jan. 12, has the potential to produce hail, 15-30 mph winds, and tornadoes.

Friday’s weather is expected to have sustained winds of 15-30mph with gusts up to 50mph outside of thunderstorms. The storm is liable to down trees, cause power outages, and cause travel concerns for “high-profile vehicles” such as pickup trucks and SUVs.

Damaging winds of up to 70mph, possible tornadoes, and large hail could occur anywhere between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. with possible structural damage. The NWS said trends show a higher damaging wind threat as the system moves across MS into west AL. The tornado threat appears lower.

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Wintry precipitation is likely after the storm on Monday and Monday night. There could be ice patches on roadways that could impact travel. There is an expected prolonged cold snap with lows anywhere in the 10s and 20s, with highs only in the 20s or 30s. Temperatures in north Alabama may not rise above freezing on Tuesday, which is predicted to be the coldest day. Such low temperatures have the potential to burst pipes and pose health concerns.

To prepare for severe weather, the NWS has provided tips on how to protect homes and families. Prepare homes by securing any loose outdoor items and having backup power sources ready in case of power outages. Prepare an emergency plan and safety kit before the storm arrives, have multiple ways to receive weather alerts, and know where safe places are located. To prevent burst pipes, cover all exposed pipes, consider leaving faucets to drip, bring any pets indoors, and arrange for emergency heat in case of power failure.

The Marengo County E-911/EMA has also made several posts to help residents prepare for severe weather. The EMA said not to rely solely on weather sirens as they are not meant to be heard from inside, they are not meant to wake people up, and they cannot replace weather radios, TVs, or apps. Stay off the roads during severe weather unless it is absolutely necessary, as roads could be blocked due to flooding, downed trees, or power lines.

The EMA also said not to call 9/11 to report power outages as the lines need to remain clear for emergency calls.

“Marengo County has the same phone number that the citizens have to report power outages, so calling 911 will not have any effect on the power being restored more quickly,” the EMA said in a Facebook post. “The 911 dispatchers will not be able to provide a status of an outage or an estimated time that power will be restored to a specific location.”

Call Alabama Power at 800-888-2726 or Black Warrior at 855-462-9362 to report outages.

The NWS and Marengo County E-911/EMA will make regular Facebook posts to keep residents updated on the weather. Keep an eye on their Facebook pages for any significant updates.