The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 25, 2012

Forecast: Alabama at high risk for Christmas twisters

— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The National Weather Service says Alabama is at high risk for tornadoes and damaging winds this Christmas Day.

A powerful weather system will move across the region Tuesday, bringing with it the strong possibility of severe storms, forecasters said.

Storms will begin in southwest Alabama and are expected to move northward through the day, National Weather Service officials said.

Brian Daly, a Mobile-based National Weather Service meteorologist, said forecasters are anticipating EF-2 and EF-3 tornados — stronger than the EF-1 tornado that hit Alabama Dec. 20 and left 54,700 people without power. Forecasters say the weather system may also produce straight-line winds and large hail, and the system is expected to move out of the area by midnight.

"We're cautioning people to be very quick about taking cover," Daly said, "We're thinking we might find some damage."

Art Faulkner, head of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, said people need to pay attention to the weather and adjust travel plans if they expect to be on the road.

The governor and local emergency officials have been briefed on the situation and are ready to respond if the weather turns dangerous, Faulkner said.

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