It is Monday December 25, 2023. Across West Alabama there are bleary-eyed parents surrounded by shredded gift wrapping, empty boxes that have for some reason become toys, celebrating children and wonderful aromas wafting in from the kitchen - it is Christmas Morning!

However, elsewhere, there are others to whom this day is not such a joyous occasion. There are the lonely, those who have lost loved ones; others who are struggling with bad health and still others who don't have the resources to provide a big Christmas celebration.

I don't mean to be such a downer on Christmas Day but today of all days is one, not just about our immediate family, but the human family, our neighbors and in some cases our friends. This is a day we should vow to help those in need, look-in on a struggling neighbor, call someone you know is lonely, vow to donate to or volunteer for any organization that helps those in need. In other words, bring the joy and meaning of Christmas to others year around. If we do that then it will truly be a Merry Christmas!

My wife and I drove around looking at the Christmas decorations last night in the rain. This morning we awoke to a soggy but somewhat warm Christmas morning with temperatures in the 60s. But the rain is ending west to east across the area this morning.

There could be a few scattered showers lingering through tonight, but the wind will be the main weather item. Gusts from 20 to 30mph are possible through midafternoon. A few gusts could reach 30 to 40 mph north of the I20/59 corridor. But by midafternoon the winds should begin to subside.

Don't get too excited but colder temperatures and precipitation returning on Thursday afternoon in the northern half of Alabama could (I emphasize could) bring a transition to snow with light accumulations in the extreme northeast corner of Alabama.  Don't get excited, it won't impact West Alabama and it won't last long.

The Forecast:

Christmas Day: A 40 percent chance of showers before noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 70. South wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46. Northwest wind around 5 mph.

Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 60. Northwest wind around 5 mph.

Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 36. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 60. Light and variable wind becoming southwest 5 to 10 mph in the morning.

Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 34.

Remainder of the Year: Through New Year's Eve weather conditions should bring mostly sunny days and clear nights. Highs will be in the upper 40s to mid 50s. Lows will range from upper 20s to lower 30s.


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Topping the News:

Family, friends and supporters of Micah Washington, the man tased by a Reform police officer while handcuffed are vowing to continue to conduct rallies to support him. They want officer Dana Elmore fired and prosecuted for use of excessive force. Family members say there was no good reason for Elmore to act the way she did.

The encounter started when the officer stopped while Washington was on the side of the road changing a flat tire some 8 miles outside of Reform on December 2. She asked for his identification and Washington's brother began videoing this incident with his cellphone. She handcuffed Washington and pushed him on the hood of his car. She removed a handgun from his waist, which he does not touch in the video. That is when she tased him.

A viral video reveals Washington did not disobey her instructions and there is no indication as to why she decided to arrest him.


 

The incidence of influenza and other respiratory illnesses in Alabama is listed as Very High. Tracking by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a substantial jump in people going to the doctor reporting symptoms of respiratory illnesses in Alabama and Mississippi and eight other states. There was also a 13% increase of people testing positive for influenza in those states in a single week.

The ADPH Viral Respiratory Tracker shows for the week ending December 16 (the last data available for Alabama), the percentage of emergency department visits for respiratory virus was 9.26%, a 46% increase compared to the previous week.

Alabama is one of only three states where respiratory diseases are listed as Very High. Doctors fear holiday get togethers will further exacerbate the problem.


 

Volunteers are needed to help clean up the Black Warrior River. In a release from the Black Warrior River Keepers organization, they say monitoring and keeping the river clean is more than their small staff can handle by themselves.

Volunteers are needed for river clean up events, research and support. Patrolling waterways, educating the public, and holding polluters accountable has made Black Warrior Riverkeepers an important proponent of clean water throughout the Warrior Basin.

So far this year, volunteers have removed over 25,000 pounds of trash from the waterway that runs through West Alabama.

You can click on the BWR website for more information.


The Alabama Department of Public Health has issued a warning reminding Alabamians to clean your ovens very carefully and follow all safety instructions if you use oven cleaners.

Holiday cooking will lead to more people cleaning ovens according to ADPH.  Chemical oven cleaners can be a useful tool to remove baked-on food and grease. But these cleaners can pose a big health risk if not properly cleaned off.

In a press release, ADPH reminds the public to follow all instructions and heed all product safety warnings. Most oven cleaners have high pH levels, meaning they can cause burns if touched or ingested. If an oven is used that still has oven cleaner in it that has not been wiped off completely, the cleaner can burn off as a caustic smoke that can cause burns and irritation to the mouth, skin, eyes, and airway. If swallowed, oven cleaners can cause vomiting and burns to the lips, mouth, throat and the digestive tract.



In Sports:

Want to make take in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day? Aside from expensive airfare and hotel accommodations, a ticket won't be cheap either.

The cheapest resale tickets for Alabama's January 1st Rose Bowl game with Michigan are going for $386.00 in the end zone. Lower level 50-yard line tickets are listing for $2,669.00 each according to Seat Geek.

If you want to get really fancy, two tickets in the Loge 1 Section of the venerable Rose Bowl Stadium will cost you $49,442. That is not a misprint.

Tickets to the famed Rose Parade in which the Million Dollar Band will march are slightly better priced from $75.00 each on West Colorado Blvd. to $231.00 each on South Orange Grove.


The Crimson Tide Football Team departs Tuscaloosa National Airport on their Delta Airlines charter at 11:10 CST tomorrow morning for their flight to Los Angeles International. They will arrive on the west coast at 1:15pm PST.

After checking in at their hotel, the Tide will conduct their first onsite practice and then participate in a Rose Bowl press conference.


Michigan continues to be a 1.5-point favorite to beat Alabama in the first round of the College Football Playoffs at Pasadena. And interestingly, the Las Vegas oddsmakers give the winner of that game the best chance of winning the title. Washington and Texas are the other CFP game on the first.


Merry Christmas everyone. Thanks for reading the briefing each weekday and thanks for the positive feedback. Remember, the reason for the season. 

 

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