Inclement weather threatens cook-off

Published 11:46 pm Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Alabama River Chili Cook-off may be postponed due to inclement weather Thursday. After a team meeting Tuesday night, the participants decided to hold off on making the official call until Wednesday morning, but they were leaning toward rescheduling the event to April 12.

“Everyone is wanting to look at the weather in the morning,” said Clay Carmichael, a member of Blackbelt Benefit Group.

“We’re leaning toward April 12 if the weather is bad and we’re going to check in the morning and if the weather stays the way it is, we’ll move it to April 12.”

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Blackbelt Benefit Group and Selma and Dallas County Leadership Class XVIII are teaming up this year to put on the cook-off. Although they hope the weather will hold off, they know the event will likely have to be pushed back a couple of weeks.

“The issue is that they’re saying there could be 60 miles per hour [wind] gusts, and that’s no good for tents,” Carmichael said.

Jason Davis, a meteorologist with the Birmingham National Weather Service, said there is a possibility of severe weather Thursday and everyone should be paying attention as Thursday nears.

“Currently we have forecasted an 80 to 90 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms during the day Thursday, and about a 60 percent chance early in the evening,” Davis said. “There is at least a low-end threat of some strong severe storms during that time frame.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Dallas County is in the slight risk margin, but things can always change in the hours leading up to Thursday.

“Right now, we’re looking at a slight risk of severe storms, mainly between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday. That time will get narrowed down hopefully as we get closer,” Davis said.

“There’s a potential for some straight-line winds up to 60 miles per hour, and also a threat of isolated tornadoes.”

Davis said the best way to know what’s going on is to continue to pay attention to forecasts and be weather aware.

“In case of lightning, if people can see lightning or can hear thunder, go in doors immediately and have multiple ways to get any severe weather warnings if they’re issued and know where you would go if there was one,” Davis said.

“Keep in touch with the latest forecast as we try to narrow down the timing.”

Carmichael said to stay up to date with the cookoff, to check the Alabama River Chili Cookoff Facebook page where they will post the details on whether the event stays on Thursday or is moved back to April 12.