Wednesday, July 19, 2023, started out with severe thunderstorms and power outages across West Alabama but it is now evolving into a dangerously hot day according to the National Weather Service in Birmingham.

A HEAT ADVISORY is in effect for all of West Alabama until 9:00 tonight. Heat indices are expected to rise to at least 108 degrees, that puts it at a hazardous level for those who work and play outdoors. If you must be outdoors for any length of time, stay hydrated and take frequent cooling breaks. Check on elderly neighbors and make sure children and pets do not get overheated or dehydrated.

Today's forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with showers and thunderstorms late afternoon after the peak heating. Highs in the mid to upper 90s. Tonight, lingering showers and storms. Lows in the 70s.

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Topping the News:

There are 40 vacancies at the Tuscaloosa Police Department and 20 officers are still in training. That leaves TPD at roughly 80 percent of its authorized full operational strength. To counter the ongoing problem, the city is considering a one-time, $10,000 retention bonus.

Tuscaloosa City Councilman John Faile is proposing forcing establishments that sell alcohol to close earlier than normal to deal with the shortage of TPD officers providing security. Faile told the council administration committee so many police resources assigned to the Strip and Downtown are depriving the rest of the city of fair police protection.

Perry, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa County School Systems are among 38 systems in the state sharing in a 14.7-million-dollar grant to increase safe and healthy schools. Sumter will receive $294-thousand, Tuscaloosa $395 thousand and Perry and Pickens will each get $400 thousand. The program goal is to boost students physically and mentally.

Tuscaloosa’s Alex Drueke is back in Ukraine. This time he is working on humanitarian aid instead of military assistance in the country's war against the Russian invasion. Drueke and Huntsville’s Andy Huynh were assisting the Ukrainian military a year ago when they were captured by Russian forces and endured 105 days of brutal treatment as prisoners of war. Drueke is working with humanitarian organizations to support Ukraine's embattled citizens.

Alabama Republicans on Tuesday advanced proposals to boost the number of Black voters in one of the state’s seven congressional districts, but critics said the plans flout a court order to create a second majority-Black district. The Alabama House Democratic Caucus has a press conference set for later this morning to discuss what they says is a violation of court orders to draw a map with 2 majority minority districts.

Lawmakers must adopt new maps by Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court in June upheld a finding that the current state map — with one majority-Black district in a state that is 27% Black — likely violated the federal Voting Rights Act.

In Sports:

Day two of the four-day Southeastern Conference Pre-Season Media Days kicks off in Nashville this morning with Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban at the podium. Joining Saban will be offensive lineman JC Latham, cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry and edge rusher Dallas Turner to talk about the Crimson Tide.

Arkansas Sam Pittman, Florida's Billy Napier and Kentucky's Mark Stoops wrap up the day.

The event ends tomorrow with the coaches from Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee and the pre-season picks by the sportswriters and broadcasters.

During yesterday's SEC Media Days, Auburn's new head coach Hugh Freeze ticked off some Tiger fans by honestly admitting, "Auburn wants to be like Alabama".

Stay cool today!!


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