Alabama Governor Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency Monday evening after the majority of the state was put under a winter weather advisory by the National Weather Service.
In the proclamation, Ivey says the storm could cause significant damage and poses a danger to the health and safety of the people of Alabama.
“All Alabamians should take time to be prepared for the potential of winter weather. I have directed essential state agencies to be on the ready should they be needed over the next couple of days,” Governor Ivey said in a news release.
“As with any severe weather event, being prepared is of utmost importance. Everyone should take the necessary precautions now and stay informed of the latest weather forecasts for their area. This State of Emergency will ensure that all available state resources are ready if and when they are needed.”
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The National Weather Service has been tracking an icy cold front moving across the Southeast. Most severe weather predictions focused on the northern parts of the state, but now the NWS anticipates severe weather across central Alabama and even as far south as Mobile.
Auburn, Opelika, Eufaula and Columbus/Phenix City have a 70 percent chance of snow Tuesday night and will be under a hard freeze watch until at least Thursday morning. Total snowfalls could be between an 1-1.5 inches in most areas, forecasters say. Around the Valley, it could be less than an inch.
Temperatures, though in the sunny 50s for part of today, will drop into the 20s and teens tonight, and with a wind chill advisory in effect, could drop into the single digits.
“There are enough uncertainties in the forecast right now that the potential exists that this winter storm could be debilitating to the state for a couple of days due to icy conditions,” said Director of Alabama Emergency Management Agency Brian Hastings.
“We are strongly encouraging people to closely monitor this forecast because each portion of the state will face icy conditions at different times. It also important to factor in your commute time to ensure you are off the roads before the first flakes start falling from the sky. In addition to icy road conditions, another factor the state is dealing with is the massive flu outbreak. Now is a good time for people to plan ahead and remain weather aware.”
Ivey activated the Alabama National Guard and and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency in preparation of any major effects from the storm as of 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Officials urged drivers to use “extreme caution” while traveling and to check road conditions before heading out. The worst time to drive will be Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.