Gov. Ivey declares state of emergency ahead of Wednesday storm risk

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Mar. 16—Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a state of emergency as the National Weather Service is warning of severe weather for Wednesday across most of central Alabama.

Forecasters are now warning of a "moderate" risk of severe storms — a level 4 out of 5.

"We're looking at a likely severe weather event for much of the Southeast," said Tara Goggins, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Calera.

Goggins said conditions appear favorable for strong, long-track tornadoes, damaging straight-line winds up to 80mph, and hail up to the size of golf balls.

In a Facebook press conference Tuesday, weather service forecasters said Alabama could expect an initial wave of storms arriving some time after 2 p.m. Wednesday, with possible hail and tornadoes.

A bigger threat comes later, when a line of strong thunderstorms is expected to cross the state sometime Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, meaning many people may be asleep when tornadoes form.

Ivey issued a state of emergency for all 67 counties in Alabama on Tuesday afternoon. "Projections are showing that this will likely be a widespread event, with some of the most severe weather anticipated late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. Please make preparations now in the event your area is impacted in some way," Ivey said in a statement.

Most of the public and private schools in Calhoun County are dismissing students at noon Wednesday and planning to hold remote classes on Thursday.

Because of the possibility of storms arriving at night, Goggins said, people should avoid turning off the ringers on their phones or turning on "do not disturb" functions at bedtime Wednesday. She said it's best to have multiple ways of receiving weather alerts, including a weather radio.

It's also a good idea to keep cell phones fully charged, she said.

She said people should figure out, today, how they will get to shelter if there's a tornado warning.

"If you live in a mobile home or a manufactured home, you need to be making plans for where you'll go when the time comes," she said. "People need to have their plans finalized by the end of the day today."

Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting