Area under freeze warning

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Covington County remains under three severe weather warnings as temperatures continue to plummet below freezing.

The county is currently in a hard freeze warning — meaning temperatures are expected to drop below 26 degrees for more than five hours — until 9 a.m. today. Temperatures fell below freezing Monday evening and hovered in the mid-teens throughout the night.

The National Weather Service reports daytime highs throughout the week are not expected to surpass Thursday’s 49 degrees. Lows range from 21 degrees tonight to 27 degrees Wednesday, 28 degrees Thursday and 21 degrees Friday.

Weekend temperatures are set at a 43-degree high and 26-degree low Saturday and a 47-degree high and 32-degree low Sunday. However, warmer temperatures are forecasted for the following week.

“With the hard freeze warning, there are conditions that mean there will be a threat to the lives of residents who have no heat or are using space heaters without safety features,” said Susan Carpenter, county emergency management agency director. “So please make sure to check on our elderly and our neighbors. Make sure to protect plants and pets also.”

Officials also urged space heater users to be careful.

“There are two things to remember when using that method to heat,” said Russell McGlamory of the Andalusia Fire Department. “One, keep them free of clutter. We’ve been to several fires over the years caused from heaters placed too close to furniture. We even had one that was started by a pillow that fell off the bed and landed on the heater.

“And two, make sure your heater is equipped with a safety feature that shuts it off if it over turns,” he said. “A lot of the older model heaters don’t have that, so make sure they’re on good level surfaces.”

The county remains under both a watch and a warning for “fire weather” — which means humidity levels are forecasted to fall below critical levels.

“In our case the warning is applicable because of a long duration of low relative humidity,” Carpenter said. “We’re going to see dewpoints in the teens and single digits that will result in a long period of critically low humidities during the morning hours over the next few days. With that, comes an increased chance of fire.”