Severe weather expected today

Published 12:30 am Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A day after the third anniversary of the April 27, 2011, deadly tornado outbreak in Alabama, weather forecasters were warning residents in the South of an upcoming system that could wreak havoc around the area and state.
Locally, the weather was expected to hit after midnight and could continue through this morning, but by 7 p.m., Gov. Robert Bentley had declared a state of emergency for every county in the state.
“Some of our communities have already experienced significant damage as a result of the tornadoes that began moving through Alabama earlier today ” Bentley said. “By issuing a State of Emergency, I am directing all state agencies to take necessary actions to respond to Alabama communities that need help.”
The Alabama Emergency Agency activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Clanton to a level two at 7 p.m. Monday. All first responders and law enforcement personnel were already out assisting communities that had experienced damage. In addition, Bentley authorized the mobilization of 100 Alabama National Guard members to be on stand-by and ready to assist communities if needed.
At least six deaths were reported in Alabama after a tornado touched down in the Coxey community of Limestone County.
Tornadoes killed 17 people across central and southern parts of the nation on Sunday. Most of those deaths were in Arkansas, with one death each in Oklahoma and Iowa.
The severe weather risk will continue today, EMA director Susan Harris said.
“Based on some of the newer guidance, there is now a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms (today) mainly late morning on,” she said. “This is a change for the round two.”
Forecasters are predicting the possibility of tornadoes, damaging winds and very large hail the size of golf balls or larger.
Additionally, heavy rains and flooding are a high concern with this weather event.
“Widespread totals of 2 to 4 inches are expected through Tuesday evening,” Monday’s National Weather Service hazardous weather outlook brief said.
Forecasters also say that those totals could easily double if strong storms repeatedly move over the same areas.
“Given the recent heavy rainfall the area has experience this additional rain will be sufficient to produce potential flooding issues and river stage rises.”
According to the NWS, the front should clear the area by Wednesday afternoon.
Additional rains are possible Thursday and Friday.
“We need everyone to be prepared,” Harris said. “Go ahead and check your NOAA weather radios and have some way of getting weather information.”