Forecasters watching Arctic system

Published 12:38 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017

If Monday’s severe weather wasn’t enough of Mother Nature’s force for you, don’t worry, she’s not done yet, or at least that’s what forecasters are predicting.

It could turn icy by the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Colder temperatures are expected to roll in today.

WSFA meteorologist Eric Snitil said Tuesday that the cooler temperatures will be gradual and Friday’s highs are expected to be in the 40s.

“As the arctic air spreads southward at the surface, a budding area of low pressure is expected to develop into the northern Gulf, spreading a shield of precipitation into Alabama,” he said. “The current timing brings the onset of precipitation into the area Friday night and kicks it out by the second half of Saturday.”

Andalusia’s forecast calls for a slight chance of rain, snow and sleet before 9 a.m., then a chance of rain between 9 a.m. and noon, according to the NWS.

Snitil also encouraged people to be weary of a graphic floating around social media “showcasing apocalyptic forecasts of snow and ice across the Deep South.”

“Nobody has any idea how this is going play out at this stage,” he said. “Not the keyboard amateur forecaster, not even the seasoned meteorologist. Wintry weather setups in this part of the world are the most fickle and nuanced element of weather prediction that exists.”

While nothing is set in stone, locals should go ahead and get prepared.

EMA Director Susan Harris said that everyone needs to plan to stay home and off the roads Friday night and Saturday.

“Get prepared by having multiple ways of getting weather information,” she said. “Check battery-powered equipment and stock extra batteries for flashlight and communication equipment. Check your food/water supply and stock extra, if needed.”

Harris said that supplies should include food that does not need cooking or refrigeration in case of power failures.

“Winterize your vehicles and have them fueled,” Harris said. “Check your supply of heating fuel and back up heating sources. Keeping warm during power outages should be a concern and it is your responsibility now to get prepared if that situation does occur. Make plans now with a family member, local churches, or your work place to see if that could be an alternative place to stay warm if you lose power.”

Harris also said that locals shouldn’t forget about pets.

“It it’s a countywide event, it takes time to restore power and get roads cleared. So, please be prepared to take responsibility for yourself and your family while the responders work for you. Get prepared now.”