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January 29, 2013

Officials warn of severe weather in early morning hours

CULLMAN — Severe weather possible today; cooler temps to follow

By David Palmer

Editor

A strong weather system moving through Cullman County is bringing the threat of tornadoes and damaging winds in the early morning hours.

The highest threat for the area is 5 a.m.-8 a.m. today, said Phyllis Little, director the Cullman County Emergency Management Agency.

The biggest threat is straight-line winds. We’re looking at winds of 25 to 30 miles per hour, sustained, and gusts up to 70 miles per hour,” Little said. “The primary threat to our area should end from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.”

Community storm shelters will be open tonight and Wednesday. The area will also be under a wind advisory from 9 p.m. tonight until 6 p.m. Wednesday.

After a briefing from the National Weather Service, Little said residents should keep weather radios on until the system leaves the area.

“One of the concerns we have is the possibility of falling limbs and trees. The ground is saturated from earlier rains this month. At one point we had 10 inches of rain in 15 days. When you combine that with high winds, there is the danger of trees coming down and blocking roads and knocking out power,” Little said.

The arrival of the storm could also bring heavy rains and cause flooding problems in some areas of the county. Little said anyone driving during the storms will have to be watchful of trees and flooding along area roads.

The high temperature Wednesday is expected to reach 62. But as the front clears out of the region, temperatures will begin to decline.

The high Thursday will be in the 40s, with the low dipping into the 20s.

“We will definitely see some chilly temperatures after the storm, but by Saturday we should be back in the 50s,” Little said. “The important thing is for everyone to keep their weather radios on and have plans to act if we have severe weather.”

* David Palmer may be contacted at dpalmer@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 213.

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