The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

April 28, 2014

Stormy forecast prompting school shutdowns in state

Associated Press

— BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Dozens of Alabama school systems are dismissing students early because of powerful storms headed toward the state.

Schools from the Tennessee Valley to near Birmingham are releasing thousands of students early on Monday. They're trying to avoid having children and employees on the road later in the afternoon, when forecasters say storms are expected to arrive.

The National Weather Service says waves of severe storms are expected across north and central Alabama through Wednesday, bringing a high chance of tornadoes, damaging straight-line winds, hail and flooding.

The entire state is under a flash flood watch with as much as 5 inches of rain in the forecast.

To the west, a tornado already has killed has killed at least 16 people along an 80-mile path in Arkansas.