West Alabama Wednesday Briefing
Wednesday, August 30, 2023, saw dawn break with deadly Category 4 Hurricane Idalia coming ashore in the Florida Big Bend area as the most powerful tropical system to hit the area in 73 years. Winds up to 130mph and a storm surge that could reach upwards of 16 feet in some spots are bringing life threatening, catastrophic conditions to the Sunshine State's northwestern coast.
The storm was downgraded to Cat. 3 shortly after making landfall.
There could also be historic freshwater flooding that could shut down all of North Florida's major highways.
The National Weather Service in Tallahassee is calling Idalia "an unprecedented event".
Moving inland, the National Hurricane Center reports Idalia will maintain dangerous hurricane strength and spawn supercell tornadoes in its path. The storms is expected to move into southeast Georgia and cross the eastern shores of South and North Carolina before exiting the continental U.S. and moving into the Atlantic Ocean. Officials fear the storm could then re-strengthen in the warm ocean water.
The only direct impact on Alabama is showers and breezy conditions in East Alabama and dangerous rip currents and high surf through tomorrow.
Today: Partly sunny, with a high near 88. North wind 5 to 10 mph.
Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 65. North wind 5 to 10 mph.
Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 87. North wind around 5 mph.
Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 68. North wind around 5 mph.
High School Football Friday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. High near 88. Friday night brings a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1am. A low around 70 is in the forecast.
Crimson Tide Football Game Day: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm with a high in the upper 80s. By game time it should be partly cloudy with an overnight low around 70.
Topping the News:
FEMA personnel and equipment and military helicopters have been staged at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery and are awaiting today's passage of Hurricane Idalia to move into the impacted area. As many as 350 tractor-trailers, command busses and other equipment are ready to roll as soon as the word is given.
Could the 3rd GOP Presidential Debate be in Tuscaloosa? If Republican candidate Chris Christie is correct, it will be. Earlier this week the former NJ Governor told MSNBC to, "Keep an eye on Tuscaloosa, Alabama for the third debate in October." Former SC Gov. Nikki Haley also told a campaign stop that the 3rd debate will be in Alabama.
Tuscaloosa and Huntsville are the two prime Alabama locations for a GOP debate in a decidedly Red State.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) has been designated to administer federal and state funds for EV charging infrastructure and lead Alabama’s electric vehicle infrastructure planning process. ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell tells us more money is being provided for stations along Alabama’s interstates, such as I20/59 through West Alabama, but combustible engines are not going away any time soon.
Alabama's new grocery tax cut take effects Friday, September 1, statewide. Groceries have been taxed at the full state sales tax rate of 4%. But under the provisions of House Bill 479, a 2% total cut in the grocery tax will be implemented as soon as next year.
The first 1% of the cut will go into effect on Friday, with the second 1% being eliminated on September 1, 2024, if Education Trust Fund (ETF) revenues are projected to grow by at least 3.5% in the following year. If not, the second cut will not take place.
According to CDC data, COVID19 hospitalizations have increased 31% over the last two weeks, and the most dominant variant is called EG.5, a mild strain of the virus. In Alabama there has been a significant increase in cases but not at the national level.
Contrary to false stories on social media, no mask mandates have been issued by state or federal governments. However, some businesses and colleges have reinstituted the mask mandate.
Four days from today until Alabama kicks off the 2023 season against Middle Tennessee at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kick-off is set for 6:30pm.
Sports talk show host Tim Brando, a Louisiana resident, is calling Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban a "bully" for not releasing a team depth chart for Saturday's game.
Brando posted on “X,” the social media platform previously known as Twitter. “He should be above that, but, clearly, these days he’s not in the best of moods.
Brando has never been the friendliest of sports broadcast personalities toward Saban. He accused the Tide head man of bullying local media. Oxford Dictionary defines bullying as to, "seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable)."
Heck Tim, Saban is using the lack of a depth chart as a team motivator, he said as much. He wasn't bullying, he just gave talking heads like you more to talk about. You should be thankful.
Enjoy "Hump Day" and keep the people of North Florida, SE Georgia and the North and South Carolina coasts in your thoughts and prayers.