Severe weather sets sights on Black Belt

Published 10:41 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2013

With warm air rising from the Gulf of Mexico mixing with a cold front moving in from the East, severe weather is in Selma’s forecast. 

The National Weather Service in Birmingham projects that the main threats from the storms will be damaging straight-line winds, hail and heavy rain.

“Right now we’re looking at what’s probably going to be a line of showers and thunderstorms that will be moving into Alabama overnight Wednesday night into Thursday morning along the Mississippi-Alabama state line,” said Aaron Gleason, meteorologist with the Birmingham Weather Service.

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Severe weather is expected to hit Dallas County between 7 a.m. and noon Thursday. Conditions for isolated tornadoes are not favorable, but Gleason advised residents to stay aware of the possibility.

Heavy rainfall and possible flash flooding are the main threats posed to Selma, he said.

“There may be some hail, but from what we’re seeing it doesn’t look like it should be too damaging,” Gleason said.

Once the line of storms approaches the state, Gleason said the storms are expected to slow down — leaving some areas with potential long periods of heavy rains.

“The easiest way to stay safe is to not drive through locations where you can’t see the bottom of the road,” he said. “Otherwise, just be aware that we are expecting some fairly heavy rainfall moving in by Thursday with this line.”

Similar to Gleason, Rhonda Abbott, EMA director, advised residents to stay off roads that may seem flooded as they pose a dangerous hazard.

“People need to be really cautious with flash flooding,” Abbott said. “As we saw back in September, you don’t necessarily have to be in a low-lying area to be heavily affected by flooding.”

A weather briefing with the Birmingham National Weather Service will be held Wednesday at 2 p.m. in the Dallas County Courthouse.

Abbott suggested that residents stay up to date with weather conditions by visiting the national weather service’s website, and the EMA’s Facebook page.