It is Monday January 5, 2024, and Severe Weather Awareness Week (SWAW) is underway in Alabama. The week is highlighted by a proclamation from Gov. Ivey who stated, "Increased public awareness and education regarding severe weather preparedness can substantially decrease the number of lives lost from deadly storms that can occur any time of the year."

SWAW is the annual emphasis across the state to increase awareness of and response to severe weather hazards. Each day a specific hazard is featured to educate the public about different severe weather threats and precautions the public should take.

Severe weather can happen any month, any day and anytime of the year. However, there are two distinct severe weather seasons in Alabama. The primary severe weather season, the months that severe storms are most frequent is March through May. But there is also a secondary severe weather season in November and December. Anytime there is a significant change in weather patterns, severe weather can be a possibility.

Each day this week we will feature a different severe weather aspect. Today it is the building block for all severe weather, severe thunderstorms.

According to NOAA, there are about 2,000 thunderstorms in progress around the world at any given moment. However, less than 1% of these thunderstorms are classified as "severe". Severe thunderstorms are defined as thunderstorms that produce 1-inch hail or larger and/or strong wind gusts of 58mph or greater. Severe hail that is 1 inch in diameter is roughly the size of a quarter.

All thunderstorms generate potentially deadly lightning. However, lightning in a thunderstorm does NOT mean that the thunderstorm is severe. A small percentage of severe thunderstorms produce tornadoes with little or no lightning at all.

Across the region, severe thunderstorms typically occur during the late afternoon and evening hours but can develop at any time. While severe thunderstorms can occur any month of the year, the peak Severe Weather Season is during the spring months of March, April, and May. Alabama, Mississippi, and northwest Florida also have a secondary Severe Weather Season in the fall that typically runs from November through December.

Severe Thunderstorm WATCH
means conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. People located in and around the WATCH area should keep an eye on the sky and listen to their NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio or tune in to the local broadcast media for further weather information. Typically, a WATCH lasts around 6 hours and covers a relatively large area. Simply put, it means BE ALERT!

 Severe Thunderstorm WARNING
means either a severe thunderstorm is occurring, is detected by National Weather Service Doppler Radar, or a reliable report has been received. People in the WARNING area should take immediate action to protect their lives, the lives of others, and their property. Tornadoes can and occasionally do accompany severe thunderstorms. Treat this WARNING the same as you would for a Tornado Warning by taking the proper safety precautions. A WARNING is issued for smaller, more specific locations and generally last for less than one hour. Simply put, it means TAKE ACTION!

Severe Thunderstorm Safety Rules:

 Thunderstorms typically do not last very long and will most often pass by your location in less than one hour.

  • The best defense against thunderstorms is to stay inside a sturdy, substantial building that can protect you from lightning, hail, damaging wind, heavy rain, and tornadoes.
  •  If caught outside, try to find shelter immediately.
  •  Once in a shelter, stay away from windows and avoid electrical equipment.
  •  Be sure to secure loose objects outside as these objects often become dangerous flying debris in high winds.

Tomorrow's feature is Lightning.

The Forecast:

Today: A 20 percent chance of showers before 11am. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 60. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph.

Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 37. North wind around 5 mph.

Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 64. North wind 5 to 10 mph.

Tuesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 35. North wind around 5 mph becoming east after midnight.

Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 64. East wind around 5 mph becoming southeast in the afternoon.

Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 41.

Remainder of the Week: Partly sunny Thursday with rain moving back in by Friday. Highs in the mid and upper 60s. Lows in the mid 50s.

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Topping the News:

The gavel will drop to open the 2024 Alabama Legislative Regular Session tomorrow. Key issues facing law makers are passage of the General and Education Budgets, pardons and parole board reforms, lottery and gaming, Medicaid expansion, healthcare funding, creation of mandatory kindergarten, teacher retention and criminal justice reform.

Gov. Ivey delivers her State of the State Address tomorrow night.


A merger between the Randolph and Brierfield Volunteer Fire and Rescue Departments is being proposed. That is according to a post on the Randolph VFD Facebook page. A merger could improve fire and rescue response and fire insurance ratings.


A draft version of zoning regulations for the medical cannabis industry in Jasper has been developed by the Planning and Zoning Commission.  It restricts size and requires the business to not be located within 1,000 feet of a school, childcare center, church, Public Park, municipal government facility, or residential property.

Jasper Development Group has been awarded a processing license by the state.


Have you received an email saying something like a package has arrived at a warehouse and cannot be delivered due to incomplete address information? There’s a link there too and you are urged to use it to confirm your information within 12 hours. Don’t do it, it is a scam and an attempt to steal your personal information. The email could claim it is from the US Postal Service or other private delivery companies, but it is actually from a hacker.


It looks like a new occupant for the old Ruby Tuesday building in East Tuscaloosa is coming. According to Tuscaloosa City Councilman John Faile, there will be a new restaurant specializing in steak and seafood just off I20/59 at Exit 77. When he opens it will be Dinner only to begin with. Faile did not reveal the name or owners of the new restaurant.


According to a release from the University of Alabama, the UA Center for Economic Development begins its 18th annual Books for the Black Belt campaign today. UA students, faculty, staff and local residents are requested to donate K-12 books for students in the Black Belt. The contributed books will be sent to schools in Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter and Wilcox counties over the late spring.

You can donate new or lightly used classic and award-winning books mentioned on school reading lists until March 1. You can donate in person at the UA Center for Economic Development at 621 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa. Click here for further information. 

In Sports:

Former Alabama, now Charlotte Hornets rookie Brandon Miller posted his highest-scoring game of his young NBA career Sunday with 35 points in a 115-99 loss to the Indiana Pacers.


The United States Football League (USFL) has announced its 10-week schedule for the 2024 season.  The league merged with the XFL after one season of the two leagues playing independently.

The Birmingham Stallions, winner of the first two USFL titles will begin the new season B at Arlington Renegades on Saturday, March 30 at 1 pm on FOX TV.

The Stallions remain on the road for week two against the St. Louis Battlehawks on Saturday, April6 at noon on ESPN.

Birmingham will play its first home game of its third season when they host the Memphis Showboats, Saturday, April 13 at 7 pm on FOX.

Games will be televised on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, Fox and FS1.


Hope you make the best of the new week!


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