Just days after Sunday’s severe weather threat, more severe weather is returning to the area Thursday night into early Friday morning.
A broken line of thunderstorms is anticipated to move through Lee County between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., bringing the possibility of damaging winds, tornadoes and flooding, according to the National Weather Service.
“The greatest threat is going to be the possibility of some damaging straight-line wind up to 60 mph,” said Gary Goggins, meteorologist for the National Weather Service Birmingham. “There is also a threat of some tornadoes in there as well. Localized flooding is not out of the question as well.”
The time frame of the storm system arriving is uncertain, however, storms could arrive as early as 10 p.m. Thursday.
“Right now we have as early as 10-11 (p.m.) and as late as 3 or 4 o’clock tomorrow morning,” said Goggins. “There is a little bit uncertainty with the time frame there (Lee County) tonight.”
Due to the storms arriving at night, Goggins feels that it is especially important for Lee County residents to have a severe weather plan in place and have multiple ways to receive weather alerts throughout the night.
“Have a plan in place, know where to go when a warning is issued, and be able to take action when that warning is issued,” he said. “Have more than one means to receive a warning whether that is a weather radio and a phone app.”
Goggins also stressed that residents should not rely on tornado sirens for warnings because they are for outdoor warnings only.
If a tornado watch is issued, several safe-shelter locations will open in Lee County, according to the Lee County Emergency Management Agency (EMA).
The following places are designated safe-shelter locations by the Lee County EMA in Lee County and will be open only if a tornado watch is issued for the county:
- Southern Union State Community College
- 1701 Lafayette Parkway, Opelika
- Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church
- 784 Lee Road 298, Smiths Station
- Providence Baptist Church
- 2807 Lee County Road 166, Opelika
- St. Ellis Full Gospel Church
- 5267 Highway 80 West, Opelika
- Green Hall (Pet-Friendly)
- 1130 Wire Road, Auburn
- Draughon Library
- 231 Mell Street, Auburn
Officials urge Lee County residents to sign up for EMA alerts and to be notified if a warning or watch is issued.
“It is an excellent source to receive notifications via text, phone, or email,” said Rita Smith, Lee County EMA public information officer.
Residents can sign up for Lee County EMA alerts online at www.leecoema.com.
Once storms move out of the area temperatures will drop and will remain cool in the coming days, according to Goggins.
“It’s going to be fairly cool during the day on Friday and as well as on Saturday,” he said. “We only have highs around 60 during the day on Friday and the same thing on Saturday.”
Lingering showers and wind are also expected during the day on Friday. However, the temperature will warm back up in time for Easter.
“We’ll have another warm up by Sunday back into the mid-70s,” said Goggins.