Damaging winds, isolated tornadoes possible in area Sunday morning
by Patrick McCreless
pmccreless@annistonstar.com
Dec 20, 2013 | 6059 views |  0 comments | 62 62 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Isolated tornadoes and damaging winds could blast the Calhoun County area Sunday morning, state meteorologists say.

According to the National Weather Service in Calera, severe thunderstorms could hit the county from midnight through 4 a.m. Sunday.

Aaron Gleason, meteorologist with the NWS, said the storms could generate some isolated tornadoes and damaging winds of more than 60 miles per hour.

"That's strong enough to knock over trees and cause power issues," Gleason said.

Gleason said the unfavorable weather will begin Saturday with a 40 percent chance of rain and temperatures that could rise to 75 degrees in the county, which would beat the area's record high temperature of 74 degrees for Dec. 21 set in 1984. Gleason said the warm, moist air will create conditions for possible tornadoes.

"There will be a pumping in of moisture from the Gulf and there will be a long time frame where the warm air will just sit there ... that can lead to all kinds of things," Gleason said.

Gleason noted that severe thunderstorms are not uncommon for the state this time of year.

"There's usually one or two weather events every winter," he said. "It's not uncommon at all, due to our closeness to the Gulf of Mexico."

Jonathan Gaddy, director of the Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency, said his organization has already made its preparations in case severe weather hits the area this weekend.

"Thursday, we went and verified our personnel availability ... to make sure we had people signed up to come in and work ... to respond to incidents in our emergency center," Gaddy said. "Even with the holidays, we're in as good a shape as ever."

Gaddy recommended residents check their weather radios to ensure they were working properly and had fresh batteries.

"Another thing is people should make appropriate travel plans and make sure they have a way to monitor the weather," Gaddy said.

Gaddy said there are many free weather services that residents can get through their cell phones. If residents visit the Calhoun County EMA's website, calhounema.org, they can sign up for free weather alert text messages to their cell phones.

"And always make sure you have a safe location designation in the home," he said.

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.

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