Tulip tree

A tulip tree is pictured in Heflin. Much of the area looked like spring as February experienced record warm temperatures. (Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)

How warm has it been this week? Record-breaking, according to Jason Holmes, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Calera.

Anniston’s temperature was 82 degrees for both Wednesday and Thursday — breaking the previous record of 75 degrees for both days in 1980.

“We were talking about record cold temperatures — very cold — in the month of January,” Holmes said.

“We basically have seen a pattern reversal ... we started the year with a trough across the Eastern Seaboard and now that pattern has completely reversed. We have had troughs off the West Coast,” Holmes said.

The springlike pattern is due to a large area of high pressure over the Bahamas and southwest Atlantic, Holmes said.

“So we have a Bermuda high that is providing us with a southerly flow — the high humidity and allowing the temperatures to warm across the area,” Holmes said.

According to Holmes, a cold front has been trying to move south but has been rebuffed by the high pressure to the south.

“That system will come in late Saturday night into Sunday,” Holmes said.

Northwest Alabama may experience strong to severe storms, according to Holmes. As the front slows down due to the high pressure to the south, heavy rainfall “will become an issue” across north Alabama on Sunday, he said.

Holmes said another disturbance will come in overnight on Sunday and finally push the cold front to the south; clearing is expected on Monday with highs in the 60s.

Although the weather is not expected to be severe, the rain could remind area residents to be ready for turbulent spring weather. To that end, the state is sponsoring its seventh annual sales tax holiday for emergency supplies. It started Friday and allows Alabamians to stock up on common supplies costing less than $60 each, total purchase not exceeding $1,000, that would help them get through a period of severe weather. Generators costing less than $1,000 are also exempt from the state’s 4 percent sales tax during the three-day period.

According to the Alabama Emergency Management website the following items are exempt from state sales tax:

  • Batteries: AAA-cell, AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, and 9-volt. (NOTE: coin batteries, automobile batteries, and boat batteries are not exempt.)

  • Cellular phone batteries and chargers.

  • Portable self-powered or battery-powered radios, two-way radios, weather-band radios or NOAA weather radios.

  • Portable, self-powered light sources, including battery-powered flashlights, lanterns, or emergency glow sticks

  • Tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths, and other flexible, waterproof sheeting.

  • Ground anchor systems, such as bungee cords or rope, or tie-down kits

  • Duct tape

  • Plywood, window film and other materials specifically designed to protect window coverings

  • Non-electric food storage, coolers and water storage container

  • Non-electric can openers

  • Artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs, reusable ice

  • Self-contained first-aid kits

  • Fire extinguishers

  • Smoke detectors

  • Carbon monoxide detectors

  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks or containers

Calhoun County and Anniston are also waiving local sales taxes during the tax holiday.

For a complete list of counties and municipalities participating in the tax holiday:

Staff writer and photographer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3544. On Twitter: @BWilson_Star