Crenshaw Countians endure arctic temperatures during holidays

Published 10:48 pm Thursday, December 29, 2022

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Although the high for today was 71 degrees and spring-like temperatures are expected for several days, Alabama’s weather was sharply colder as Crenshaw Countians headed into the Christmas weekend.

Crenshaw County Emergency Management Agency Director Elliot Jones, kept residents updated via Facebook on the most recent weather happenings as the holiday weekend approached, kicking off the frosty weather updates with a windchill advisory issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Mobile on Dec. 21 at 3:48 p.m. This advisory and a hard freeze warning issued on Thursday evening remained in effect through Christmas morning.

Temperatures plummeted from the high of 61 on the Thursday before Christmas, down to a dangerous low of 15 Friday morning as an arctic cold front moved across the area. Strong northwest winds made it feel much colder, with wind chill values dropping to near sub-zero in the northern part of the county.

On Friday, temperatures peaked near 28 degrees and blustery winds from the northwest registered between 10 and 15 miles per hour, with gusts as high as 35 mph.

The high on Christmas Eve struggled to climb out of the 30s as many residents faced freezing temperatures through Sunday afternoon, with most of the county remaining under freezing temperatures for approximately 36 hours.

Christmas Day was the warmest of the holiday week, with temperatures rising slightly above freezing for a short time but dropped back down as the evening approached. By Monday, temperatures were back into the mid-40s.

According to Jones, there were no reports of icing over during the weather event as well as no reports of related accidents, damages, or injuries, and although the extreme temperatures were a rarity, no records were broken.

“We left out early Friday morning to assess the different areas of the county,” Jones said. “The low dew point and the continuous winds from the front passing through kept the roadways clear of ice. We were lucky in our area not to have the electrical impacts that occurred in north Alabama. Rolling blackouts were occurring due to an unusually high electrical demand for heat. Alabama Power went under a Level 1 Energy Emergency Alert on the 24th, according to information that was sent to me from AMEA CEO Fred Clark. There was a concern for the night of the 24th as solar energy went offline, but we were able to evade any blackouts in our area.
This was not a record-breaking event. In the early- to mid-1980s, we had several days close to 0. Also, in 2018, we had comparable temperatures that lasted for days. For interest, the coldest day recorded was in 1899, with a temperature of minus 5 degrees.”

According to ALEA’s Secretary Hal Taylor, weather conditions can change drastically at any moment and we must remain vigilant and prepared for any future winter weather conditions.

“Our Agency is already preparing, with all divisions and units developing and implementing wintry-weather operation plans,” Taylor said. “These efforts ensure that both ALEA Troopers and Special Agents are fully prepared to aid and assist motorists traveling across the state (during winter road conditions). However, we strongly encourage and recommend that both citizens and visitors prepare in advance for any inclement weather…..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.

For updates on weather conditions for Crenshaw County visit the National Weather Service website at weather.gov/bmx and follow Crenshaw County EMA on Facebook.