Wind advisory

UPDATED 9:30 a.m. Tuesday

The significant weather threat for Lee County was reduced to a slight risk until 3 a.m. this morning and no damage was reported.

"We did not have any damages reported to us," said Rita Smith, public information officer for the Lee County Emergency Management Agency. "Lee County was very blessed that we were not affected."

A wind advisory is in effect in Lee County from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. today. Winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour will be possible with gusts up to 35 miles per hour at times. These strong winds could cause difficulty in driving and downed trees and large limbs.

Cooler air moving in behind the system will result in the potential for lows at or below freezing across parts of north central Alabama Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

UPDATED 4:06 P.M.

The Lee County Emergency Management Agency has issued a list of safer locations in which mobile home residents can take shelter in case of a tornado event this evening. 

"Remember, do not wait until a TORNADO WARNING is issued to travel to your safer location of choice," the EMA posted on its Facebook page. "It is NOT SAFE to drive during an active TORNADO WARNING. You should move to your preferred location during the watch period and stay there until the TORNADO WATCH is over." 

Mobile home residents should take necessary supplies, including diapers, baby food, medications, water and food, with them when moving to their safer location. 

Safer locations include: 

> Providence Baptist Church, 2807 Lee Road 166, Opelika

> The Bridge Church, 1000 Lee Road 263, Cusseta

> Concorde Baptist Church, 321 Lee Road 251, Salem

> First Baptist Church, 301 S. 8th St., Opelika

> Draughon Library, 231 Mell St., Auburn

> Greene Hall, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn. 

There is also a FEMA-rated tornado shelter at Waverly Community Center, 2094 Patrick St., in Waverly. 

UPDATED 3:35 P.M.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham has issued a significant weather advisory for northern Russell County until 4 p.m. Central. 

"At 3:29 p.m., Doppler radar was tracking a strong thunderstorm near Russell County Sports Complex, or eight miles south of Phenix City, moving east at 40 mph," according to the advisory. 

Half-inch hail is possible with this storm. 

UPDATED 1:05 P.M.

The National Weather Service's Birmingham office says it launched a weather balloon around noon today, to "get an updated sample of the atmosphere."

"Data continues to come in from the weather balloon instruments in the air," the NWS posted on its Twitter account. "The atmosphere is becoming more unstable across central Alabama. We will continue to review this information and refine the forecast."

UPDATED 11:33 A.M.

The updated timeline from the National Weather Service shows the biggest threat for tennis-ball sized hail, damaging winds and tornadoes for the Lee County area will be between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. 

But much of the state, including Auburn and Opelika, is at a slight risk of seeing severe thunderstorms pop up throughout the afternoon, according to the NWS Birmingham office. Severe thunderstorms can spawn tornadoes, hail up to a quarter-size, and damaging winds up to 60 miles per hour.

Tonight, the O-A coverage area could see tornadoes, tennis-ball sized hail, and damaging winds up to 70 miles per hour. 

North Alabama is expected to see the strongest band of storms, with tennis-ball-sized hail, strong tornadoes and damaging winds up to 80 miles per hour in Anniston, Gadsden and Birmingham.

ORIGINAL STORY 9:17 A.M.

The strongest severe weather threat to the Opelika-Auburn News coverage area is later tonight, according to information issued Monday morning from the National Weather Service office in Birmingham. 

An NWS graphic shows the greatest possibility for severe weather between Auburn and Montgomery from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Alexander City area could see severe weather as early as 2 p.m., with the threat continuing until 2 a.m.

Alexander City Schools will dismiss at noon today, due to the weather threat, Superintendent Darrell Cooper posted on his Twitter account this morning. All after-school activities in the ACS system are cancelled for the day as well.

Much of the state, including Auburn-Opelika, Alex City, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, is indicated as having an "enhanced risk." This means there is a possibility for strong tornadoes, tennis-ball-sized hail, and damaging winds up to 70 miles per hour. 

South of Lee County, including Montgomery, has a "slight risk" as of this morning. That includes golf-ball-sized hail, damaging winds up to 60 mph, and the possibility of tornadoes. 

Residents in the affected areas should have a plan for a safe place to go in the event of a tornado watch. 

This story will be updated throughout the day. 

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