Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Wet, Wintry Weather Didn't Last Long in Tuscaloosa

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Wet, Wintry Weather Didn't Last Long in Tuscaloosa

Article excerpt

A significant amount of sleet and rain fell across West Alabama on Thursday, but the Tuscaloosa area escaped with no road closures or accidents linked to the weather.

The Tuscaloosa Regional Airport recorded just more than a half- inch of precipitation by the time the storm moved out of the region.

"It was eerily quiet," said Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management Agency Director Rob Robertson.

Lots of sleet and rain fell, but it created little to no issues for roadways because the ground temperature remained above freezing for much of the day.

"We didn't have any known impassable roads or bridge issues through the event," Robertson said.

Aaron Stevens, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Birmingham, said the biggest concern was the cooling temperatures that were expected to drop into the mid-20s by Friday morning.

"It's going to be cold," Stevens said.

This means that any lingering moisture on roadways -- especially less-traveled areas -- could become dangerous overnight.

The mercury will rise somewhat Friday, but it's not expected to rise above the 40s despite calls for sunny skies.

Temperatures will drop again into the low 30s on Saturday, but the high for Saturday at press time was predicted to be about 60 degrees for the Tuscaloosa and West Alabama area.

While Thursday's storm did not hamper Tuscaloosa area roadways, many schools, agencies and businesses were closed in case it might.

Shelton State Community College announced early Thursday that it would be closed the entire day because of icy conditions.

Stillman College suspended classes and all operations at 10 a.m., and the University of Alabama followed suit at 11 a.m.

The University of West Alabama closed at 12:30 p.m.

Tuscaloosa city and county schools were canceled Thursday morning, but some parents of students in the city system heard later than expected.

Lesley Bruinton, public relations coordinator for Tuscaloosa City Schools, said in a news release that the automated phone messaging system failed.

"The decision to cancel school was made prior to 6 a.m. based on updates to the early-morning weather forecast," the news release said. "However, the service provider experienced unusually high call volumes, creating a backlog when the Tuscaloosa City Schools and other school systems made notification calls.

"As a result, parents and employees received calls between 6:25 a.m. and 7:15 a.m."

As of press time, no announcements regarding school openings or delays for the city or county systems had been announced for Friday.

The Tuscaloosa Public Library closed at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, and the Tuscaloosa Transit Authority halted operations at 11 a.m. Later, it was announced that transit buses will be back in operation at 7 a.m. Friday.

The Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority closed it offices and facilities at 1 p. …

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