Alabama is drying out and cleaning up from tornadoes that hit Christmas night. Flooding is also a concern as the state heads toward the New Year’s holiday.
The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-0 tornado hit Tuscaloosa County Friday afternoon with winds of seventy five miles per hour. Two hours later, a confirmed EF-2 twister touched down in suburban Birmingham. That storm is confirmed to have damaged more than 70 structures, from minor damage to total destruction.
National Weather Service forecaster Jim Stefkovich says the violent weather isn’t that rare for Alabama.
“Since 1950, the number of tornadoes from December 23 to 27, Alabama ranks second only to Texas in the number of tornadoes, so it’s not unusual to get tornadoes around the Christmas holidays.”
Forecasters say an unusually warm Christmas week contributed to the violent weather. Those temperatures and the severe weather threat are expected to continue until Thursday.
A casino owner made a donation to an Alabama school district for students lacking insurance allowing them to take home iPads.
The Montgomery Advertiser reports VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor donated over $25,000 to cover the $50 insurance payments for 515 students at three Macon County schools.
McGregor says he felt compelled to help after hearing about students' inability to pay insurance costs for iPads following Apple's donation to the three cash-strapped schools this summer.
Apple's grant provided iPads for students at Booker T. Washington High School in Tuskegee, Tuskegee Public Elementary and Notasulga High School. The grant was part of its ConnectED grants coinciding with the White House's ConnectED initiative.
The Apple grant also allowed Macon County to update its internet infrastructure within the school buildings and provided professional development for employees.
The second ranked Alabama football team is going through game-week preparation for the College Football Playoff this Friday against #3 Michigan State.
The Crimson Tide and Spartans will square off in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
One player Coach Nick Saban is looking for more out of is junior linebacker Tim Williams. He says he has a chance to play every down on defense if he can continue to develop.
“He’s got to learn how to play outside backer and understand pass coverage concepts. When he drops, I’d say that’s the biggest thing he has to develop. I think the way he’s developed in other areas, that’s something we certainly have great hope for that he’ll be able to do in the next year.”
Williams has 18 tackles this season and is second on the team in sacks with 9 and a half. Kickoff for the Cotton Bowl is set for Friday at 7 p.m. on ABC.