West Alabama Wednesday Briefing
It is Wednesday January 17, 2024, and the old song "Baby its Cold Outside" definitely applies. While we are not all that close to the record low temperature ever recorded in Tuscaloosa/Northport (-5 on January 27, 1940) the 12 degrees just before daylight this morning recorded at Tuscaloosa National is close enough.
Fortunately, most of the overnight problems on the roads were in north Alabama where numerous traffic crashes from patchy black ice occurred. While there were accidents on slippery spots, none of the West Alabama counties report any major issues this morning.
Today will be another day of extreme cold followed by a brief warmup and another shot of arctic air over the weekend. The good news is that relief is in sight next week when temperature rise into the 60s.
Today: It will be sunny, but temperatures will remain in the single digits and teens across all of Central Alabama through mid-morning, with wind chills at or below zero in the northern portions of Central Alabama. The high will be near 39.
Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 22. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph after midnight.
Thursday: A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly after 3pm. Increasing clouds, with a high near 47. Southeast wind around 5 mph.
Thursday Night: Showers likely before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. South wind 5 to 10 mph becoming northwest after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Friday: Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 41. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 16.
Weekend: Mostly sunny days with highs from the lower 30s to lower 40s. Mostly clear nights with lows in the upper teens to lower 20s.
Topping the News:
The extreme cold and ice of the last few days has created problems for public works and first responders. It has taken a combination of ALEA State Troopers, ALDOT and Mobile Support Teams from the Alabama National Guard to work 24/7 to respond to problem areas along Alabama highways, especially north of Birmingham.
The most significant icy spots resulting in traffic crashes and blocked roads have been in north Alabama on Interstates 65 and 22. There have been numerous multi-vehicle pileups, many of them involving 18-wheelers.
With temperatures still in the single digits this morning across the Tennessee Valley, emergency crews are continuing to respond to crashes and reports of icy bridges and overpasses along with black ice.
In West Alabama this morning counties have reported scattered icing but all roads open. Sumter, Greene and Marengo counties continue to report problem areas, especially along U.S. 80 and U.S. 11. Some county roads are reportedly also slick.
Pickens County EMA reports a lot of slick spots remain on Highways 14 and 86.
Across the region all roads are open but ALEA Troopers ae cautioning motorists to slow down because you can hit black ice and spin out quickly with no warning.
Hale County reports six accidents overnight where motorist did just that and ended up in a ditch. There were injuries in some of those crashes.
The 2nd Avenue Bridge on the University of Alabama campus is closed this morning due to concerns about icing. The bridge will remain closed until all the ice has melted.
Also, all the upper levels of parking decks exposed to the elements are closed due to ice and concerns for people slipping.
Tuscaloosa County EMA reports that six people spent the night in the warming center as temperatures plunged to the low teens with wind chills in the single digits.
All other counties in West Alabama report varying numbers of people keeping warm in the shelters being provided.
In the Perry County town of Uniontown, the Perry County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) passed out space heaters and blankets to persons living in sub-standard housing.
This winter storm has had one positive to it, there were few trees and power lines downed by ice. That is critical as temperatures dropped to near record laws, power outages have been kept to a minimum.
This morning, less than 14,000 customers of Alabama Power, TVA and electrical co-ops were reported without electricity.
Another stellar Alabama football player is entering the draft since legendary coach Nick Saban retired last week.
Alabama’s star freshman safety, Caleb Downs, plans to enter the transfer portal, according to a report from On3sports.
Downs, who won SEC Freshman of the Year, was one of the Tide’s best defenders in his freshman season, accounting for 107 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions.
From UA Athletics:
Coach Nate Oats picked up his 200th career win as the Alabama men's basketball team improved to 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play behind Rylan Griffen's career-high 21 points, defeating Missouri 93-75 Tuesday night at Coleman Coliseum. With the win, the Crimson Tide maintains at least a share for first place in conference play heading into Saturday's matchup at No. 6/6 Tennessee.
With eight minutes left of regulation, Alabama led by four points, 59-55, and Griffen caught fire, cashing in on four straight three-pointers to give UA a 10-point lead. The Tide would extend its lead to as many as 20 points, before settling for an 18-point win.
Alabama (12-5, 4-0 SEC) had five players finish with double figures as Aaron Estrada matched Griffen with 21 points, while Grant Nelson (13), Latrell Wrightsell Jr. (11) and Nick Pringle (10) each contributed offensively.