Walker County and several surrounding counties are now bracing for potential icy weather and bitter cold temperatures as the area is under a winter storm warning until midnight Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
Gov. Kay Ivey declared an emergency for 28 counties in the state, including the Walker County area, and residents prepared to stock up on supplies, while government officials were also preparing road equipment to travel under icy conditions.
The National Weather Service said much of the county could be under significant impact by storms Sunday night and particularly on Monday. The impact started at 6 p.m. Sunday and was expected to last until 9 p.m. Monday for the eastern half of the county, possibly later in the morning for the western half.
The potential for icy rain from the storms was expected to make travel difficult, especially on bridges and overpasses. Power outages are also a concern. Tuesday morning lows were forecast for Jasper to be 16 degrees by the NWS - although at least one Birmingham station even predicted it would be 12 degrees.
The National Weather Service said after 6 p.m. Sunday night in its Jasper forecast that freezing rain was likely for Jasper before 8 a.m. Monday, turning into rain from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then a rain possibly mixed with freezing rain after 1 p.m. The high for Monday is forecast to be 35 degrees, with the chance of precipitation 100 percent. New ice accumulation of less tham .1 of an inch was possible.
Freezing rain and sleet would be seen before 8 p.m., then a chance of snow between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., with the chance of precipitation at 90 percent. "New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch possible. New snow and sleet accumulation of less than a half inch possible," the National Weather Service said.
Tuesday will be partly sunny with a high of 34, and then a low of 20 would be seen Tuesday night. Wednesday will have a high of nearly 49, with a 30 percent chance of showers.
Jasper Mayor David O’Mary said the city is making all preparations possible to deal with any icy conditions this week. Street Department trucks have been loaded with sand and all-terrain vehicles are available to use. He also noted the fire department is adding equipment to make it easier for two trucks to travel on icy roads.
Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith said in a Facebook post, "The Walker County Sheriff’s Office is prepared, and will have our Humvees in operation for emergency services. Because of this, our response times could be delayed."
District 3 Walker County Commissioner Jim Borden posted, "Please take the next few hours and make necessary preparations for the next couple of days. Charge all your phones, check your batteries in your flashlights and any other emergency items you may need. We will be monitoring the roads and bridges but when it is unsafe the guys will not be able to work on these areas. Please do not travel on the roads when they become icy."
Walker County E-911 asked residents not to dial 911 for road conditions and closures. They ask people instead look at their Facebook page or the Walker County Emergency Management Agency Facebook page posts (which can also be seen at mountaineagle.com.) One also can go to the ALGO Traffic app for up-to-date road conditions.