Severe weather a threat on Christmas Day
by Laura Camper
lcamper@annistonstar.com
Dec 24, 2012 | 5318 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Christmas Day may bring a threat of severe weather, with severe thunderstorms and the potential for tornadoes headed for Alabama.

The National Weather Service office in Birmingham predicts a stationary warm front will bring all the ingredients necessary to spawn tornadoes — instability, moisture and warmer temperatures — to parts of Alabama after 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

“It’s kind of ‘anything goes’ after that,” said NWS meteorologist Mark Linhares. “The threat looks fairly significant.”

The risk in Anniston is slight, Linhares said. But there is a moderate risk is in areas further south including Demopolis and Selma, he added. A second front should come through the state about 2 a.m., ending the threat, Linhares said.

Travelers especially should be aware and pay attention to the watches and warnings. They should also try to stick to areas they are familiar with and know where to go for shelter if need be, Linhares added.

Greg Milltano, an emergency management officer for the Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency, agreed. If travelers are indoors and it starts pouring rain, stay put, he said.

"We're still not totally clear on what severe weather to expect," Milltano said. "As information comes in we're funneling it out to the public."

Meanwhile the EMA is making the normal preparations when severe weather is predicted, he said. The agency has been in contact with its partners that may be called on for response and making sure everything is ready to go and communication is set up. That's one less step the agency would have to take if severe weather does hit, Milltano said.

The weather service's Mobile office projects that southwest Alabama will at a substantial risk of severe weather on Christmas Day. A special weather statement states there's a risk of these storms producing tornadoes during the day, with some strong tornadoes possible. Forecasters say it's likely the storms will also produce large hail.

Information from the Associated Press is included in this story.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545, on Twitter @LCamper_Star.

Information from the Associated Press is included in this story.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.

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