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franklin county times

NWS: Area due for icy weather

By Staff
Jason Houston FCT Managing Editor
Andy Kula said it is all too easy for Alabamians to forget about winter weather.
Being prepared is the message sent by Winter Weather Awareness Week, which was observed this week by the weather office. Winter Weather Week is one of three annual awareness campaigns intended to draw attention to weather hazards. The other two campaigns focus on lightning and severe weather.
Items the weather service recommends for a car kit include blankets, a mobile phone and charger, flashlights, a first-aid kit, non-perishable foods, and some sand or kitty litter to help a car get traction if stuck in icy conditions.
Also, Kula said now is the time to check battery-powered equipment around the home, including fresh batteries for NOAA weather alert radios.
Kula said this winter's long-range forecast calls for colder and wetter conditions than average, a recipe he said could produce a significant weather event.
North Alabama has been spared for the most part in recent years. During the winter of 2003-2004, there were three main recorded winter weather problems, all mostly in southern Tennessee. The Huntsville area did receive 2-4 inches of snow on Feb. 15.
But during this week's awareness campaign, the weather office is drawing attention to severe winter weather events in Alabama's past, including the March 1993 "Storm of the Century" during which Huntsville received 7.3 inches of snow, and other parts of north Alabama received more than a foot of snow. The snowstorm was followed by several days of intense cold.
Also, on New Year's Day in 1964, a storm set an all-time record for snow in the city of Huntsville that resulted in 17.1 inches over a 24-hour period.
Kula said ice events, common on the "freezing line" in north Alabama, can be even more trouble than snow.
Winter weather awareness week is observed as a public service by the National Weather Service, which Kula said is an important part of the weather office's job.

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