It is Friday December 15, 2023. 10 days before Christmas and according to the National Climate Center, it looks like the holiday will be warmer and drier than normal for this time of the year. So, no white Christmas, again.

The rains of the last couple of weeks have helped erode the drought but dry conditions continue. West Alabama remains more than an inch below normal precipitation for the month of December.

The latest Drought Monitor released yesterday by the National Drought Mitigation Center reveals the Extreme Drought area has shrunk considerably with only extreme eastern Tuscaloosa County remaining in the red. Extreme Drought means a prolonged period of less than normal precipitation such that the lack of water causes a hydrologic imbalance.

Most of the rest of West Alabama remains in Severe Drought. which is a deficit of at least 5.00" of rainfall over several months, impacting crops.

Unfortunately, while there is rain in the forecast this weekend, West Alabama is not expected to receive more than a quarter at best.

The Forecast:

Today: Mostly sunny today with highs in the lower to middle 60s. East winds around 10 mph.

Tonight: Increasing clouds tonight. Lows in the 40s.

Saturday: A 50 percent chance of showers, mainly after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Saturday Night: A 50 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 49. East wind around 5 mph becoming northwest after midnight.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 59. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 37

Monday: Sunny, with a high near 55.

Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 29.

Remainder of the New Work Week: Sunny days with highs in the mid to upper 50s with partly cloudy nights and lows near freezing.


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Topping the News:

Warrior Met Coal, which owns Brookwood Coal Mines, suffered a massive data breech in July. Mine workers were not informed until this week that the breech exposed almost 20,000 employee names and Social Security numbers to hackers who are attempting to extort the company. How many of the Brookwood mine employee's personal information was compromised is not known.


 

The Pickens County City of Reform continues to receive phone and internet threats of violence in the wake of a viral video that shows white female Officer Dana Elmore tasing a handcuffed black male, Micah Washington, who was not resisting arrest. Elmore is on administrative leave as ALEA investigates the incident.

NAACP National Board Member Bernard Simelton had a message for ALEA at a press conference in Reform. He does not want ALEA to take two, three or four months to complete their investigation. He wants it concluded expeditiously with the findings submitted to a prosecutor for potential civil rights violation charges. He also demands that Elmore be fired and that the U.S. Justice Department investigate.


 

After a decade in the position, Kentuck Executive Director Amy Echols will be stepping down on January 1st. She will transition to an advisor’s role for arts and strategic growth. The Kentuck Board has selected Deputy Director Exa Skinner, who has filed several positions at Kentuck over the last near decade. She takes over amid questions about Kentuck’s future in Northport.


 

33-year-old Travis Maxwell Moore has been charged with two counts of attempted murder after he allegedly shot a woman and man through a bedroom window earlier this month. Court documents state the incident happened at Tuscaloosa's Sherwood Mobile Home Park on the morning of December 3rd.


 

Alabama inmates accuse the Department of Corrections of not doing enough to keep them safe. The danger is highlighted in a leaked cellphone video from inside Bullock Correctional Facility. The video shows an inmate hitting another inmate on the ground multiple times with a belt. Then, another inmate is seen stomping him on the head as he screams out. Alabama prisons have earned the reputation of being among the most dangerous in the nation.


The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) posted the state's report card Thursday afternoon. The report card includes access to millions of data points collected by the department across the state through school system portals.

The state scored an overall B average with a 95% in academic growth and an 88% graduation rate. However, the state scored just a 62% in academic achievement and 44 percent in English language proficiency, 88.2% in graduation rate and 97.25% in academic growth.

State Accountability Indicators reveal a continued high chronic absentee rate of 18.9% and 79.7% in college readiness.


 

 

The U.S. Navy Aireal Demonstration Team the "Blue Angels" have been to Tuscaloosa several times for the Tuscaloosa Regional Airshow. This coming April 6 - 7, Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery will host the Beyond the Horizon air show featuring the famous Blue Angels.  There will also be STEM education displays available.



 

In Sports:

Alabama QB Jaylen Milroe gave his coach, Nick Saban, an earlier Christmas present yesterday when he publicly announced on The Next Round Podcast that he will return to Alabama for his senior season in 2024.

Few people expected him to opt for the NFL draft because he will be one of the Heisman Trophy favorites and could drastically improve his draft status with another year of college ball.


 

Jacksonville State is a 2 ½ point favorite to beat Louisiana in the New Orleans Bowl at 1:15 Tuscaloosa time tomorrow.  Coach Rich Rodriguez's team was 8-3 this season.


 

Alabama men's basketball faces another nationally ranked opponent this weekend. The Tide travels to Omaha, Neb. to take on 8th ranked Crieghton. Tipoff is 7:00pm on the Crimson Tide Sports Network and Fox Sports Net.


Have a great weekend and find some time to celebrate the reason for the season as a number of area church choirs will present Christmas cantatas this weekend. 

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