By Kaitlin Hoskins, News Editor
Etowah County and all of Alabama will be the victims of extremely cold temperatures starting Monday, January 15.
There could also be some wintry precipitation Monday and Tuesday, but forecasters are not certain of the details of when, where, how much and what the impact might be.
“Let me state up front there is low confidence about potential amounts, locations and impacts right now and you should avoid putting any faith in current model guidance or weather apps,” said Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist with Alabama Emergency Management Agency, in a statement. “That said, everything from freezing rain to sleet to snow is possible if all ingredients come together.”
According to the current forecast, temperatures will struggle to reach the mid-30s in northern Alabama Monday. By Tuesday morning, low temperatures will range from 10-15 degrees in the northern sections to mid-20s at the coast. Highs on Tuesday will range from the mid-20s north to the lower 40s in the far south.
The projected low for the Gadsden area Tuesday night is 13 degrees.
If wintry precipitation does occur, it could be a mixture of snow and freezing rain for Etowah County. The current dividing line on most models is Interstate 59.
“The potential exists for snow across areas near and north of I-59, possibly beginning in northwestern Alabama Sunday evening, but very low chance, spreading southward on Monday and continuing through Tuesday morning,” said Stefkovich in a statement Thursday, January 11. “From late Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning south of I-59… sleet and light freezing rain are possible. The bottom line is that if accumulating winter precipitation occurs Monday into Tuesday, impacts could last into the middle to later part of next week.”
Gadsden-Etowah County Emergency Management Agency director Derek Mummert is encouraging residents to prepare ahead of time for the cold temperatures.
“”Early next week, forecasts predict Etowah County will experience our coldest weather of the year,” Mummert said. “We encourage people to make sure their homes and vehicles are prepared, and to take precautions to avoid dangers like fire hazards and carbon monoxide if you have to use extra heat sources. You should also check on your neighbors, the elderly and pets, and warming centers are open and available for those who need them.”
To help with the main concern with the temperatures — prolonged exposure to sub-freezing temperatures — several warming centers in Etowah County will be open.
Refiner’s Fire Mission at 402 Grady Street, will be open Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and all day Monday through Wednesday. The Salvation Army at 114 North 11th Street will be open daily until full. The Hokes Bluff Community Center at 5891 Gilliland Street will be open but call 256-312-2515 for access. Sardis City Hall at 1335 Sardis Drive will be open but call 256-572-7707 for access. The Altoona Community Center will be available but call 205-589-2000 for access. Family Success Center at 821 East Broad Street will be open Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Glencoe Senior Citizen Center at 407 Hollingsworth Park will be open Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Southside Community Center at 2142 AL HWY 77 will be open for normal business hours, but for after hours call 256-442-9770 and press option 3. All three branches of the Gadsden Public Library will be open during normal business hours. The Freedom Center of Gadsden at 1601 West Meighan Blvd. will be open, but call 256-391-9716 for hours and details. The Rainbow City Community Center at 3702 Rainbow Drive will be open but call 256-442-4526 for access. Carnes Recreation Center in Attalla at 102 Case Ave SE. will be available but call 256-490-7195 or 256-504-1903 for access.
For the most up to date list of warming centers or changes to locations, visit the Gadsden-Etowah County Emergency Management Agency Facebook page.