It is Thursday February 1, 2024.

The rain and wintry moisture over the last few weeks have further eroded the long-term drought but it has not completely done away with it. That is how dry it has been since mid-summer.

The new U.S. Drought Monitor issued earlier this morning shows there are no longer any Extreme Drought areas in the state. Those areas in east and northwest Alabama have been downgraded to Severe Drought.

The previous areas of Severe Drought in West Alabama have been reduced to Moderate Drought. And the areas of Fayette, Lamar, Pickens, Bibb, Hale, Perry, northeast Marengo and southeast Tuscaloosa counties that were Moderate Drought are now listed as Abnormally Dry.

For the first time in months there are areas of Alabama that are now completely drought free. Those areas at in southwest and southeaster sections of the state.

Rain will return to West Alabama Saturday evening through Monday morning. However, amounts will total less than an inch.

In addition, Saturday night through Sunday afternoon should bring wind gusts of 20mph to 25mph. A few gusts could reach 30mph.

The rain clears out Monday afternoon and no precipitation is in the forecast through at least Thursday.

The Forecast:

Today: Increasing clouds, with a high near 63. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph.

Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 39. Calm wind.

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 67. Calm wind becoming northeast around 5 mph.

Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 42. East wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 68. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.

Saturday Night: A 50 percent chance of showers after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 48.

Sunday: Showers. High near 53. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

Sunday Night: Showers likely, mainly before midnight. Cloudy, with a low around 44. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

The New Work Week: Skies will clear late Monday afternoon making way for mostly sunny skies through midweek. Highs will be in the mid-50s to lower 60s. Lows will drop into the mid to upper 30s each night.


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Topping the News:

State officials are going on the offensive to fight union organizing at Alabama's non-union auto plants. According to Alabama Commerce Secretary Ellen McNair, Mercedes and the state’s other automakers have invested $15 billion dollars in Alabama but if the employees at those plants unionize it could bring Alabama’s industrial growth to a halt.

Her social media statement comes as the United Auto Workers is using the success of a crippling strike against Detroit’s Big 3 Automakers to begin a concerted organizing effort against non-union automakers in Alabama and across the south.

UAW President Shawn Fain, in an online video, claims the non-union automakers are making huge profits and not sharing the success with employees. The union's ultimate goal, according to UAW materials, is to reach the 70% threshold of workers signed with the union.


 

49-year-old Bert Eugene Neff of Indianapolis has been charged with obstructing the federal grand jury investigation into the 2023 baseball gambling scheme that cost Crimson Tide Baseball Coach Brad Bohannon his job. The investigation stems from highly questionable wagering on Alabama baseball games.

Neff has reached a plea deal in which he will admit guilt. He could get up to 10 years in prison and a quarter million dollar fine.


 

Jasper Republican Rep. Matt Woods has announced he will file a bill in the upcoming legislative regular session that will create stiff penalties for using artificial intelligence to create child pornography.

The Alabama Child Protection Act will raise the age of children protected under the state’s child pornography laws from 16 to 17. It also allows victims to get up to $25,000 per image for civil penalties. It would also make fully computer-generated child pornography illegal.


 

Today is National Unclaimed property Day and State Treasurer Young Boozer, who formally lived in Tuscaloosa, is reporting the state is holding more than $1 billion in unclaimed property of all types from checks to cash to objects.

$47 million dollars were claimed this past year and Boozer urges Alabamians to visit the Unclaimed Property Division of his office online to search for their name, the name of a business they own or family members.  Every search is free.


 

The 17th Judicial Drug Task Force found 57 pounds of cocaine in an 18-wheeler being driven by a Mexican national during a traffic stop on I20/59 in Greene County last week. The man now faces charges of drug trafficking and operating a vehicle with a secret hidden compartment. The case is still under investigation.


 

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has filed a motion with the Alabama Supreme Court to have Jamie Mills executed using lethal injection for his role in the 2004 murders of Floyd and Vera Hill in Guin in Marion County.

No reason was given for using lethal injection instead of nitrogen gas as was used in last week’s controversial execution of Kenneth Smith.


 

Alabama's Recovery Organizations of Support Specialists (R.O.S.S.) addiction recovery specialists have opened a new community center in Tuscaloosa to support and educate anyone struggling with dangerous substance use.

The new community center celebrated its grand opening last week at 2624 18th Street on the eastern edge of West Tuscaloosa. There, staff will be on hand seven days a week to aid those who are struggling with substance use disorder.


 


 

In Sports:

The Alabama Men's Basketball Team (15-6 overall, 7-1 SEC) stumbled out to a slow start, trailed at halftime and eventually overcame a 16-point deficit to eke out an 85-76 win over Georgia (14-6 overall, 4-3 SEC, 11-2 at home) in Athens last night.

No. 24/22 Alabama used a 17-5 second half run to overcome the Bulldogs strong performance before a packed house at Stegman Coliseum.

"I can't say enough about our guys in the second half," Tide Coach Nate Oats told the postgame press conference, "They showed some fight, and they showed what they are about. Georgia was obviously much more ready to go to start the game."

Up next for the Tide is a home game with Mississippi State at 7:30pm Saturday at Coleman. The game will be broadcast on 100.9 The Tide and 95.3 The Bear on the Crimson Tide Sports Network and televised on the SEC Network.


 

Four former Crimson Tide Golfers will tee it up today at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Nick Dunlap will play his first game as a pro with a 12:21pm CST tee time,

Justin Thomas tees off at 11:45am CST,

Davis Riley has an 11:45am CST Tee time, while

Lee Hodges begins play at 1:21am CST.


 

The Bama Women's Basketball Team (16-6 overall, 3-4 SEC) is on the road tonight for an 8:00pm game at Arkansas (16-6, 4-3 SEC).

The game will air on the Crimson Tide Sports Network and SEC Network.


 

Have a thrilling Thursday and ROLL TIDE!!

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