It seems only right that this week should be Winter Weather Awareness Week in Alabama, with many parts of the state already having experienced below average temperatures and snow flurries earlier in the week.
The campaign is a joint project between the National Weather Service and local emergency management organizations across the state. The goal of this week’s awareness campaign is to remind residents of the importance of being prepared for the various types of cold weather elements they could see over the next month, including snow, freezing cold temperatures and ice.
One of the points weather and safety officials are stressing is that residents should do their best to prepare for traveling in winter weather conditions. This means making room for a shovel, ice scraper, blanket, phone charger and other emergency equipment that may be necessary if one should find themselves stranded on a cold, snowy road.
After the storm that hit the state last January, being stranded on the road due to snowy conditions is more than a possibility this winter. Last year’s surprise winter storm affected thousands of drivers, many of whom were not prepared for the snow and cold. State officials hope to avoid major incidents like this in the coming months by helping residents prepare ahead of time.
While temperatures are expected to warm up towards the end of the week, the cold front from the north is shaping up to be a strong force that could push more cold weather into the southern U.S.
“The intensity of the polar jet stream, as of right now, is trending very strong, and we’re seeing that energy generate out of the Pacific Northwest. And we’re seeing it come southward much earlier than we normally do,” said NWS meteorologist Dana Griffin, according to AL.com.
Alabama isn’t the only part of the country that faced stronger than usual winter conditions this week. The city of Buffalo in Upstate New York was hit by a powerful lake effect snowstorm on Tuesday, burying the city in over five feet of snow and prompting emergency crews to launch rescue efforts for residents in the city.
While the snowfall was significantly higher than what is usually expected for this time of year — and especially in one day– northern states are familiar with dealing with heavy snow accumulation. Shoveling driveways, de-icing car windows and shoveling snow away from home foundations to prevent water damage are routine winter activities for residents in this part of the country.
Alabama is unlikely to ever face winter weather conditions of this magnitude, but the abnormally cold weather patterns hitting the state this week serve as an important reminder that being prepared for inclement weather is the best way to stay safe when a winter storm hits.