Tornadoes possible with today’s system

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Forecasted severe weather closed all three local school systems and the community college for the second time this week today, and Gov. Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency ahead of a weather system expected to impact the state through the day.

“Alabama is no stranger to the impact severe weather can have on the communities and the devastation that can occur when the weather takes a turn for the worse,” he said in a statement. “I have issued a state of emergency as a precautionary measure to ensure state resources are on standby and are ready to assist impacted communities should the need arise. I also want to encourage individuals to stay weather aware and have a method to receive the latest weather alerts.”

Wednesday’s storms are expected to be stronger here than Monday’s storm system.

Andalusia City Schools, Opp City Schools and Covington County Schools are closed today, as well as Lurleen B. Wallace Community College.

The Andalusia Adult Activity Center will also be closed today. No meals will be served.

All Covington County offices are closed including the courthouse.

Due to the closure of the courthouse, Circuit Judge Lex Short has continued all of his cases set for 9 a.m. until Friday. Those who are set to go before Circuit Judge Ben Bowden are cancelled as well. Those cases will be rescheduled and notices will be provided for the new dates.

According to the National Weather Service, the potential threats for the area are damaging wind gusts of more than 70 mph, large hail – up to baseball size and isolated tornadoes.

Covington County is in the moderate risk area – which is 4-out-of-5 on the scale.

The most favorable time for severe weather will be Wednesday morning, possibly continuing into early afternoon, the NWS reported.

The NWS predicts there will be scattered to numerous severe storms on Wednesday.

Forecasters say that models show that supercell thunderstorms will develop, which could set-up a few strong or long-track tornadoes.

NWS says these tornados could be EF2 or greater, which means winds of 111 mph or greater.

The potential damage from an EF2 includes considerable damage with roofs torn off well-constructed homes, frame homes’ foundation shifts, mobile homes completely destroyed and more.

The storms will also be capable of locally heavy rainfall roughly along and east of I-65.

Residents are reminded to have multiple methods for notifications of watches and warnings and heed to those.

EMA Director Susan Harris said that the weather siren in Libertyville is not working currently.