It is Tuesday January 16, 2024, and the ground across West Alabama is covered in white this morning. While some of it is snow, most is ice from sleet and freezing rain overnight. While North Alabama got hammered by "Old Man Winter", West Alabama got the best possible outcome from the various scenarios that could have played out.

The most impacted areas seem to be West Tuscaloosa County, Pickens County and southern Hale County. U.S. 82 from Coker and into Pickens County had numerous icy spots at daylight resulting in several car crashes. Pickens County, according to EMA Director LaKeitha Bell, "Has been a mess", especially the lighter used rural roads.

Roads crews on the state, county and municipal levels spent the night battling ice and attempting to keep road and bridges open. For the most part they succeeded. West Alabama reported minimal impassable roads with the exception of Pickens County. Greene and Sumter counties reported a few impassable roads as well.

ALDOT worked throughout the night to keep at least one travel lane open in each direction on the I 20/59 corridor. ALEA Troopers report that there were far fewer traffic crashes than had been anticipated.

There were three major crashes in the area, one in Coker on U.S. 82, one involving three cars on I 20/59 at the Skyland Blvd. exit and three 18-wheelers that wrecked this morning temporarily block Highway 69 between Greensboro and Havana Junction in Hale County.

Power outages were at a minimum across the region. As of 9:00 this morning. The county with the most outages was Perry with 187, down from 487 just before daybreak.

Now comes the chief concern for this winter weather event, brutally cold temperatures and wind chills. Temperatures remain below freezing today over the northern half of the state, and road conditions won’t improve much until tomorrow when we go above freezing by late morning.

Tomorrow morning will be very cold, with lows in the 5-15 degrees range over the northern 2/3 of Alabama. Upper teens are possible all the way down to the Gulf Coast.

In many places wind chills will be in the single digits creating real danger from hypothermia and frostbite for those with lengthy exposure outdoors.

The extreme winter weather has forced numerous cancellations, especially classes in schools, UA, Shelton State and Stillman.

There is also some concern out putting children out at school bus stops tomorrow morning with below freezing temperatures in the forecast. Lows will be in the teens for most of the state Saturday and Sunday morning. North Alabama will stay below freezing all day Saturday.

And we will not be through with extreme temperatures when the weekend arrives as a another shot of Arctic air moves in.

The Forecast: 

Today: A chance of flurries before noon. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 28. North wind 10 to 15 mph.

Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 11. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light after midnight.

Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 39. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph.

Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 21. Southeast wind around 5 mph.

Thursday: A 30 percent chance of rain after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47. Southeast wind around 5 mph.

Thursday Night: A 50 percent chance of rain before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31.

Friday and through the Weekend: Mostly sunny days with highs ranging from the upper 30s to lower 40s. Partly cloudy nights will have lows ranging from the upper teens to lower 20s.

And believe it ot not highs the later part of next week will warm into the 60s.


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Topping the News:

The winter weather is the top news story, and it has played havoc with schedules to begin the week.

  • Schools, including UA, Shelton State and Stillman are closed today.
  • No jury trials are taking place at the courthouses across West Alabama.
  • PARA is delaying opening their parks and recreation facilities until noon.
  • Tuscaloosa Municipal Court, Revenue, Permitting and Water and Sewer offices are closed to the public today.
  • Tuscaloosa garbage collection will be delayed by a day.
  • Tuscaloosa City Council and committees will not meet.
  • Northport City Hall

 

The Alabama Rural Water Authority is cautioning Alabamians to let their water drip due to the freezing temperatures, not allow it to flow. They warn that allowing water to flow will not only run up your water bill but will empty water tanks.

The authority will be keeping a close eye on water pipes. Once temperatures moderate there is concern that some water lines could break.


 

Gov. Kay Ivey has again insisted she wants to prevent unions from organizing Mercedes Benz and other Alabama automakers.

But some auto workers appear to be interested in the union effort workers, as the Mercedes-Benz plant outside Tuscaloosa announced a campaign to join the national labor union United Automotive Workers.

Alabama is one of the top five automotive manufacturing states with Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, and Mazda all operating within the state. Ivey says the workers are “highly skilled and highly paid.”

But a November 2023 study from Alabama Arise finds the opposite. The nonprofit reports that wages for Alabama auto workers were 11% lower in 2019 than in 2002.

Ivey says she will “continue to make education, workforce development, and economic development my top priorities. Alabamians work harder than anyone, we make the best automobiles in the world, and we must not let UAW tell us differently.”


New Alabama Head Football Coach Kalen DeBoer seems to have found his defensive coordinator from the ranks of head coach. The University of South Alabama's head man Kane Wommack has been tapped to fill the position help by Kevin Steele who retired just before former Bama Coach Nick Saban did.

Wommack is the most successful head coach in USA's relatively short history as a football program.


Despite the winter storm it looks like the University of Alabama's Men's Basketball team's crucial contest with Missouri is still on tonight.

Alabama is riding a four-game win streak overall entering the contest, including three consecutive SEC wins, thanks in large part to the Crimson Tide's backcourt. Over the last five games, the UA guards are scoring 57 of Alabama's 89 points per game average, led by Mark Sears (20.2 ppg), Rylan Griffen (13.4 ppg), Latrell Wrightsell Jr. (12.2 ppg) and Aaron Estrada (11.2 ppg).

Sears, who was one of 25 players named to the Naismith Award Watch List and was named the SEC Co-Player of the Week, averaged 26.5 points per game while shooting 64 percent from the field and 61 percent from deep in two wins last week. For the year, he is shooting 48.8 percent from three-point range, which ranks No. 2 in Division I.

You can catch the game on the Alabama Sports Network and ESPN. Tip is at 6:00pm at Coleman.


 

Stay warm and safe. Stay off the roads if at all possible.

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