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Our View: Weather service gives us an early warning of storms; pay attention now

Our View: Weather service gives us an early warning of storms; pay attention now

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Global warming has the Arctic melting and Australia on fire. Here in Alabama, the state is experiencing an unusually mild winter so far and now the early threat of severe weather of the likes that normally don’t come until spring.

The National Weather Service is predicting with what seems like a strong dose of confidence that dangerous storms could move into Alabama on Saturday.

Although the forecast is days in advance and thus certainly subject to change, enough concern exists with weather officials and emergency planners that they are sounding the warning now to be prepared.

Given the reminders of killer tornadoes in recent years, such as the F-4 monster that killed 23 people and injured almost 100 last March in Lee County, or the horrific national outbreak in 2012 that claimed 247 lives in Alabama alone, there should be plenty of attention given the warnings.

Furthermore, whether warranted for this forecast or the next, the normal season for the most tornadoes in the state has yet to arrive, meaning severe weather in Alabama could happen almost anytime, and every warning deserves respect.

Here’s what the weather service is saying about Saturday:

“A robust storm system with ample dynamics will affect the area on Saturday as a cold front arrives from the west. Instability values are forecast to be sufficient for severe storms posing a risk for damaging winds and tornadoes.

“The recent rainfall and elevated river levels will raise concerns over possible minor flooding.

“While confidence is growing in severe weather on Saturday… much of the crucial details remain to be resolved…

“Bottom line is to expect some adjustments and further refinements to the forecast as we get closer to Saturday and to use the time now to adjust your weekend plans and to ensure that you have a solid severe weather safety plan, emergency supplies and multiple reliable ways to get emergency information.”

No need to panic, Alabamians, but certainly a good time to get prepared.

It sounds like good advice, and advice we all should heed for this and all future weather warnings sure to come in the months ahead.

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