Windy, cold weather headed for Butler County during Christmas weekend

Published 7:55 pm Thursday, December 22, 2022

Residents of central and south Alabama are bracing for a “very cold” Christmas, and Butler County officials are preparing for low temperatures and the possibility of power outages.

“We’re expecting it to be extremely cold, way colder than we’ve had in a long time,” said Butler County Emergency Management Agency Director Rosie Till. “We’re just making sure we won’t have any problems. I’ve been in contact with the Butler County Ministerial Association and the Red Cross to take care of anything that may take place.”

The National Weather Service in Birmingham has issued a Wind Chill Advisory in effect tonight through Saturday for counties south of Interstate 20, predicting a combination of cold air and wind, which will result in wind chills as low as 5 below zero.

On Friday, temperatures are expected to peak near 26 degrees, with blustery, northwest winds between 10 and 15 miles per hour and gusts as high as 35 mph.

Friday night, temperatures could fall around 14, then rise to around 29 on Saturday.

On Christmas Day, the “warmest” day of the weekend, Butler County residents can expect a high near 36, and by Monday temperatures should reach the low 40s.

Each day should be mostly sunny, and without precipitations, officials do not expect a white Christmas.

But according to Till, high winds could impact power for some residents.

“We certainly know [power outages are a possibility,” Till said. “We’ve made arrangements in the event [outages] take place.”

Butler County EMA is partnering with the Red Cross and the Ministerial Association to designate two warming centers to be on standby in Greenville and Georgiana. 

“Butler County 911 will be notified in the event of these centers opening and the timeline of openings,” Till said. “These locations will not be permanent shelters and will only open in the event of power outages that will cause substantial heat loss. We will be monitoring tonight’s activity closely and will make necessary changes if need be.”

Till also cautioned residents to exercise caution using space heaters for warmth to prevent hazards.

“Don’t use natural gas, propane gas, or any of those things inside your home,” Till said. “Carbon monoxide is most definitely a concern. It’s odorless and we can’t see it. Space heaters need to be on flat surfaces and three feet away from anything that could catch fire.”

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency encourages motorists driving in severe cold-weather events to exercise extreme caution and prepare for icy bridges and overpasses. Troopers and Special Agents will be on standby to assist before, during, and after any significant weather event.

“At any moment, weather conditions can change drastically,” ALEA’s Secretary Hal Taylor said. “As weather forecasters continue to predict frigid temperatures ahead of the upcoming holidays. Our Agency is already preparing, with all divisions and units developing and implementing wintry-weather operation plans. These efforts will ensure that both ALEA Troopers and Special Agents are fully prepared to aid and assist motorists traveling across the state in the coming days. 

“However, we strongly encourage and recommend that both citizens and visitors prepare now for the incoming weather. In the event conditions worsen, we urge motorists to adjust travel plans and avoid driving in severe weather.”

Motorists can monitor road conditions through local media outlets and check road conditions at algotraffic.com. For a complete list of ALEA storm tips, visit the News Releases tab of alea.gov

Residents who need assistance over the weekend can contact the 911 Center’s non-emergency number at (334) 382-9911.

For updates on weather conditions for Butler County visit the National Weather Service website at weather.gov/bmx