North Alabama’s thermometers may bottom out as a hard freeze is expected to hit the state this evening into tomorrow. Forecasters are warning of a prolonged period of sub-freezing temperatures as an arctic cold front moves into the state. Tim Troutman is the lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in Huntsville. He says temps will be much cooler than normal…
“Thursday across the area does look to be the coldest day. We’ll probably have high temperatures topping out around the upper 20’s to around 30 degrees across the area and that is in fact, at least 20-23 degrees cooler than normal for day time highs.”
Troutman advises anyone getting out in the cold weather to cover their extremities and take their time getting to any destinations. The winds will make it feel even colder, with wind chill readings dipping below zero at times.
Alabama’s frigid weather outlook has the state’s homeless shelters on alert. Huntsville’s Downtown Rescue Mission is expecting an extra forty people seeking shelter from tonight’s single digit cold temperatures. That’s on top of the two hundred and fifty homeless who stay at the mission on an average night. Dr. Carey Walker is program director at the mission. He says his staff has already stocked up on extra supplies to carry them through the cold…
“We just wanted to make sure we have enough bed space for the people who would come in. We have plenty of food for them; shower facilities, that sort of thing. So we pretty much handle this sort of thing all the time, and we’re ready for whatever comes our way.”
The mission has separate areas for men and women, and families with children. The forecast says it could be Sunday before the Huntsville area sees lows above the freezing mark.
More than 30 Alabama school systems are delaying opening on Thursday because of forecasts of bitterly cold weather.
Most of the postponements are in north and central Alabama. But systems as far south as southeast Alabama also are telling students to come later than normal.
Officials are delaying openings because of temperatures in the single-digits and teens and wind-child readings that are expected to fall below zero in areas.
The postponements give temperatures a chance to warm up a little before children have to stand outside in the cold waiting on buses.