West Alabama Tuesday Briefing
It is Tuesday, November 7, 2023. It will be another dry day in Alabama and combined with low humidity and gusty winds that means more wildfires are burning. 134 are burning statewide this morning, all but one in southwest Alabama are considered contained or controlled. 14 of the fires are here in West Alabama.
If you want to understand why all of Alabama is experiencing wildfires and is under some level of drought alert, all you have to do is look at the numbers. North and South Alabama are almost a half-foot below normal rainfall. The Tuscaloosa Metro area is in severe drought due to being more than 2 ½ inches below normal rainfall to this point in the year.
The drought is not only resulting in woodland fires but also negatively affecting farmers. Peanut and fruit farmers are reporting terrible impacts on the crops and cattle farmers were not able to cut enough hay.
There is some needed rain in the forecast for later this week. There is a 50% to 70% chance of scattered showers Thursday and Friday, but the half-inch forecasted is not expected to be enough to break the drought and end the wildfires.
Today: Mostly sunny today with highs from the upper 70s to the lower 80s.
Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 54. South wind around 5 mph.
Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 83. South wind 5 to 10 mph.
Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 59. South wind 5 to 10 mph.
Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 81. Southwest wind around 5 mph.
Thursday Night: A 50 percent chance of showers, mainly after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 58.
Friday: Showers likely, mainly after noon. Cloudy, with a high near 66. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
High School Football Friday Night: A 50 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 49.
Weekend: Lower chances of rain through Sunday night. Highs in the mid 60s and lows in the upper 40s to lower 50s.
Topping the News:
The Northport Council last night presented four checks to help fund agencies outside city government. FOCUS on Senior Citizens, Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports, Boys and Girls Club along with the Tuscaloosa Public Library received checks.
Area officials are expected to meet soon to find a way to keep financial problems at the library from forcing cutbacks and closures. Northport Council President Pro Tem Christy Bobo says the city is offering more than the check in assistance, such as use of the city planner. Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa County provide the bulk of library funding.
The city of Northport has given official names to the sports complex and tournament ball fields under development on the banks of the Black Warrior River.
As the Thread has previously reported, the mission to transform the area around Kentuck Park is one of three major recreational projects underway in the city. Also in the works are a water park on Highway 82 and an outdoor adventure and mountain biking park off Rose Boulevard.
The sports complex will add nine tournament-ready baseball and softball fields, pickleball and tennis courts and more to a broad area the council voted to rename Northport Shore.
It will include Warrior Baseball, Kentuck Park, the existing levee trail and River Run Park, the new name for the tournament fields facility.
Northport resident Jack Roberts has told the Northport City Council he and others are opposed to annexing 54 acres north of McFarland Blvd. and east of Harper Road for a planned water park. He presents a more bucolic use for the property.
Roberts calls the annexation an unnecessary and unneeded encroachment on the Harper Road and Flatwoods area. He told the council he has not been able to find a lot of information the project and its aesthetics.
He presented a better idea of turning the area into a community center, heritage and cultural site. He proposed a possible working farm to teach children. Roberts believes that will fit into the existing nature of the area.
The council did not vote on the annexation because the proposal was only in its first reading.
If there is good news to report this morning it is at the gas pump. AAA reports the national average gas price was $3.41 per gallon Monday. That’s down 8 cents per gallon in a week. In Alabama, the average is now $2.99 per gallon, $2.93 in Tuscaloosa County, which is down 5 cents per gallon in a week. Marengo County at $2.95 a gallon is the only other West Alabama County under $3.00 a gallon.
Birmingham-Southern College will have a Spring 2024 semester according to school President Daniel B. Coleman. He told news partner ABC 33/40 the school has secured enough money to ensure they are able to finish the academic year. This comes as the college waits for the City of Birmingham to sign off on a plan to assist the financially strapped college on November 21st.
East Tennessee State University announced in a press conference on Monday that Carl Torbush had died. Torbush was a defensive coordinator at the University of Alabama under Dennis Francione in 2000-2001. He also coached at the University of North Carolina.
A cause of death was not given, but North Carolina's athletics department noted that Torbush passed away "after a period of declining health in a Knoxville hospital."
Torbush was 72 years old.
Nate Oat’s Crimson Tide opened the new basketball season with a dominating 105-73 win over Morehead State at Coleman last night. Alabama will face the Indiana State Sycamores Friday night in Coleman Coliseum. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m. CT and air live on SEC Network+ and 100.9 The Tide.
Alabama linebacker Deontae Lawson was named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, the Butkus Foundation announced on Monday morning.
Lawson is one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus which is presented each year to the top linebacker at both the collegiate and high school levels. The 2023 winner of the Butkus Award will be announced on or before Dec. 7.
Have a terrific Tuesday!!