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Thousands of Alabamians wake up to power outages during brutal cold weather

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The winter storm named “Elliott” knocked out power early today for almost fifteen thousand Alabamians. The website Poweroutages.us says Cleburne, Butler, Conecuh Counties are hardest hit with about ten percent of homes reporting no electricity. Lesser outages are being reported in Bibb, Clay, Wilcox, Lowndes, Tallapoosa, Cullman and Clarke Counties. The National Weather Service warned the heavy winds associated with Elliott could mean power outages, and that residents should alternate means of heating their homes. The high temperature over most of Alabama is expected to be in the twenties, with no readings above freezing until maybe Sunday.

Nationally, thousands of flights were canceled, and homeless shelters are overflowing during one of the most treacherous holiday travel seasons the U.S. has seen in decades. Some places have experienced temperatures plummeting 50 degrees Fahrenheit within a matter of hours. Forecasters expect a bomb cyclone to develop late Thursday into Friday near the Great Lakes. That occurs when atmospheric pressure drops quickly in a strong storm. They warn of an impending "bomb cyclone" that could pack blizzard conditions. President Joe Biden has warned Americans to take the storm seriously. He said Thursday in the Oval Office that "this is not like a snow day when you were a kid."

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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