Winter Weather Awareness Week



Precipitation Types Health Hazards Past Events
Products & Criteria Safety & Preparedness Additional Info
The National Weather Service and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency have proclaimed the week of Sunday, November 12th – Friday, November 17th 2017, as Winter Weather Awareness Week in Alabama. Winter Weather Awareness Week highlights the need to be prepared for the potential dangers of a severe winter weather episode. As we all know, Central Alabama is no stranger to significant winter weather impacts, and the past two winter seasons are testaments to that.
Precipitation Types
 Precipitation Types
Winter Weather Products

The following graphics depict local winter weather products and criteria for all counties in Central Alabama served by the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama.

Winter Weather Products Wind Chill Hard Freeze
Health Hazards

Did you know that prolonged exposure to the cold can become life-threatening? Frostbite and hypothermia are both serious health conditions, and hypothermia can be fatal.

Frostbite – damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of -20°F will cause frostbite in 30 minutes or less!

  • Signs: A loss of feeling and a white/pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, or the tip of the nose.
  • Action: Get medical help immediately! If you must wait for help, slowly rewarm affected areas. However, if the person is also showing signs of hypothermia, warm the body core before the extremities.

Hypothermia – An abnormally low body temperature (<95°F). It can kill!

  • Signs: Uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion.
  • Action: Seek medical help immediately if the person’s body temperature is below 95°F! If medical care is not available, warm the person slowly, starting with the body core.
Safety & Preparedness

Although it may not happen frequently, Central Alabama does see significant impacts from winter weather. NOW is the time to prepare and finalize your winter preparedness plans. Make sure your NOAA Weather Radio has fresh batteries in it. Make sure you have a means of receiving winter weather information, and be prepared in case you have no way to travel. Injuries and deaths due to winter weather can be prevented through proper winter safety measures

The following graphics cover important safety and preparedness information, whether you are at home or traveling.

Safety Tips Travel Safety Kit Winter Safety for Pets
Home Heating Safety Tips Travel Safety Dressing for Cold Weather
Past Events

Here are just some of the winter storms to affect the NWS Birmingham forecast area over the years:

  • Winter Weather of January 6, 2017: Much of Central Alabama received a mixed bag of wintry weather ranging from freezing rain to sleet to snow. The largest accumulations of sleet and snow occurred mainly near and south the Interstate 20 corridor.
  • Winter Storm of February 25, 2015: Many Alabamians experienced one of the largest snow storms on record as over 12 inches of snow were unofficially measured along the Highway 278 corridor in Marion County. In addition, much of the northern two-thirds of the state saw snow during the afternoon and evening hours of the 25th, with totals of 1 – 2 inches near Interstate 20 increasing to 5 – 12 inches further north to the Tennessee state line.
  • Winter Storm of February 12-13, 2014: An extremely complex weather system brought a unique double snowfall event to Central Alabama on February 11th and again on February 12-13th, 2014. Ice accumulations of 0.25-0.5 inch were reported in the east/northeast counties, with Cheaha State Park getting hit the hardest. Following the ice, several bands of heavy snow tracked across north Central Alabama dumping 2-7 inches of snow from Birmingham northward.
  • Snow & Ice of January 28, 2014: The Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast states were impacted by a rather significant winter storm during the period of January 28-30, 2014. Snowfall totals across Central Alabama ranged from zero in the far northwest to 2-3 inches in a corridor from Chilton County northeast to Randolph County. Prior to the snowfall, some counties in the southeast half of the state reported up to 0.25 inches of ice accumulation. Sadly, there were nine deaths attributed to accidents that occurred due to the icy road conditions.
  • Snowfall of January 17, 2013: A strong cold core upper level low pressure area moving east out of Mississippi, combined with deep Gulf of Mexico moisture led to a quick burst of snow across areas north of I-20. Generally 1-3 inches fell, with locally higher totals of 4-5 inches, which led to very hazardous roadway conditions and numerous traffic accidents.
  • Heavy Snow and Ice Event of January 9-10, 2011: Areas north of Interstate 20 were reporting anywhere from 1 to 14 inches of snow with the heaviest totals near the Alabama-Tennessee state line. Ice reports were as high as 0.50 inches in multiple counties south of Interstate 20.
  • Christmas Day Snow of 2010: The snowfall blanketed much of northern and central Alabama.  Some locations saw the first White Christmas on record, while others just missed out on a White Christmas.
  • March 1, 2009 Central Alabama Snow EventSnow piled up across almost all of central Alabama, with 5+ inches in Lee County.
  • January 19, 2008 Central Alabama Heavy Snow: Snow fell across Central Alabama and added up to several inches from Demopolis to Clanton.
  • January 28-29, 2005 East Alabama Ice Storm: Ice accumulations of one quarter to one inch caused significant icing and widespread power outages across Randolph and Chambers counties.
  • March 12-13, 1993 “Storm of the Century”: A foot of snow blanketed Central Alabama.  Strong winds that accompanied the heavy, wet snow downed trees and power lines, leaving many people without power for days. 14 people died across the state with unknown number of people injured.  Property damage exceeded 50 million dollars.  During the winter storm, the American Red Cross in Alabama sheltered over 12,000 people in 108 facilities and served over 36,000 meals.
  • December 22-25, 1989  Severe Cold Outbreak :  This outbreak killed five people in Alabama.  Low temperatures for two consecutive nights dropped to the 0 to -5 degree range over the northern third of Alabama and into the single digits along the Gulf Coast.  Daytime high temperatures reached only into the teens.  Brisk northerly winds created wind chills ranging from 0 degrees to 15 degrees below zero across the entire state.
  • January 10-18, 1982  Severe Cold Outbreak:  One of the most tragic outbreaks of cold weather in Alabama caused the death of 20 people and resulted in at least 300 injuries. 16,000 people were forced into emergency shelters and storm damage totaled 78 million dollars.
Additional Information

Additional information is available through the following brochures and links:

Alabama has Two Severe Weather Seasons?

Alabama’s Secondary Severe Weather Season

Often Looks Like This For October, November & December

Primary severe weather season across the United States is considered to be in the spring (March-May), but did you know that Alabama also has a secondary severe weather season in the fall? Yes, it’s true! Fall severe weather season in Alabama typically runs from the beginning of November until mid-December. Occasionally, it may begin in late October or last until late December. Just like in the spring, the severity of the fall season varies from year to year. However, the important thing to remember is that severe weather, including tornadoes, doesn’t just happen in the spring. The information below will hopefully give you a better idea of just how common it can be across the state of Alabama during the fall months.

For more information on Fall Severe Weather Season

UPDATE: Road Closure Notice – Williams Road (north of Wetumpka)

As of 11:30 A.M. November 6, 2017


Williams Road from AL Highway 9 (Central Plank Road) to just east of Trace Road will be intermittently

closed between the hours of 7:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. each day Tuesday, November 7, 2017 thru Friday,

November 10, 2017. This will be due to work being performed by the power company on power lines infrastructure.

Motorist are encouraged to avoid this area if possible and to use caution if you must travel through this area.


We will keep you updated of any changes as we know them through our website: “Trending Now and Road Conditions Post”


UPDATE: Road Closure Notice: Williams Road (north of Wetumpka)

As of 5:00 P.M. 11-1-2017

The utility work being performed on Williams Road (north of Wetumpka) is complete for this week. They plan to start back to work in this area on Monday, November 6, 2017. During this work period the road may be closed intermittently while work is performed. We will keep you updated as to any changes. Please use caution when driving in this area!

Road Closure Notice: Williams Road (north of Wetumpka) on November 1 – 2, 2017

As of 8:45 A.M. 10/25/2017

A portion of Williams Road (north of Wetumpka) will be closed next week due to utility work being performed in this area.  Williams Road from the address of 2486  to the west entrance of Justiss Drive will be closed on Wednesday (November 1) and Thursday (November 2) from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day. If and as we are notified of any changes to the road closure schedule we will post updates to the road conditions page of our website at as well as, send out the updates to our stakeholder, partner agencies and the media.

Did you know that Alabama has Two Severe Weather Seasons?


Primary severe weather season across the United States is considered to be in the spring (March-May), but did you know that Alabama also has a secondary severe weather season in the fall? Yes, it’s true! Fall severe weather season in Alabama typically runs from the beginning of November until mid-December. Occasionally, it may begin in late October or last until late December. Just like in the spring, the severity of the fall season varies from year to year. However, the important thing to remember is that severe weather, including tornadoes, doesn’t just happen in the spring. The information below will hopefully give you a better idea of just how common it can be across the state of Alabama during the fall months.

For more information on Fall Severe Weather Season

Fall 2017 National Weather Service – SKYWARN® Classes & Information!

**ATTENTION: All Online Classes Now Conducted Using Join.Me**

Online SKYWARN Spotter Classes

The National Weather Service is offering several ONLINE Basic Spotter Courses and a single Advanced Spotter Course this fall. These online classes allow individuals to complete the course(s) in the comfort of their own home or office with the use of, a user-friendly web-based program. By attending any course, which runs about 1.5 – 2 hours, individuals (or a group of individuals) will become SKYWARN Spotters. To see when these classes will be held, scroll down or click here. We typically host a LIVE Basic Storm Spotter Class in Elmore County in the February/March time frame of the year. To find information about when we will host this Basic Storm Spotter class, please contact at (334) 567-6451.

To attend any online course:


  1.  Select the green button located on the right of the webpage labeled ‘Join Meeting.’
  2.  You will then be prompted to enter a nine-digit code. The code corresponds to the time and date of the course you wish to attendScroll down to the class schedule or click here to retrieve your code.

Fall Online Courses:

There are a total of 5 Basic SKYWARN Courses: 2 afternoon sessions and 3 evening sessions + 1 Advanced SKYWARN evening session. Unless you’d like to or are in need of a refresher, you do not need to attend more than one Basic SKYWARN Course, as the material covered is the same; however, the NWS requires you to attend at least one Basic SKYWARN Course before taking the Advanced SKYWARN Course.

The only setup requirements will be speakers to listen and, if you want to ask questions, a microphone. If you’d like to attend using your tablet, a app is available for download in the Google and Apple app store. These courses are TWO-WAY, meaning you will be able to interact with the meteorologist leading the training. You will be muted while training is in-progress, and unmuted when applicable (e.g., for questions).

Though not a requirement, as a warm up to the spotter classes, NWS Birmingham would like those who plan on attending the online classes, or even our locally scheduled classes, to view the following FREE online training modules:

MetEd ImageMetEd Image


The “Role of the SKYWARN® Spotter” module is used to provide baseline training for all spotters through multiple scenarios covering the procedures for spotting (including communication and storm report criteria), safety considerations for all hazards, and an overview of the national program and its history. The “SKYWARN® Spotter Convective Basics” module will guide users to a basic understanding of convective storms. Through three different scenarios, you will cover reporting and proper communication of local storm reports to the National Weather Service (NWS), personal safety during these events, and field identification of convective storm hazards. After completing the scenarios, you will be given the opportunity to practice identifying storm features from a spectrum of photos.

Graduate Storm Spotter Class (GSC)

The Graduate Spotter Class (GSC) will be held twice a year after the completion of the Basic Spotter Classes each spring and fall.  The GSC will be completed over the Internet via Follow along as one of the NWS Meteorologists delves deep into the world of Meteorology. 

Central Alabama SKYWARN Spotter Class Schedule for Fall 2017.  


Class / County

Session Code
Enter Code at
Please Read Instructions Above.
Wednesday, Sept 27 @ 6:30PM
Forecaster Satterwhite
Basic Online 504-683-535
Wednesday, Oct 04 @ 1PM
Forecaster Holmes
Basic Online 337-446-995
Tuesday, Oct 17 @ 1PM
Forecaster Davis
Basic Online 710-382-215
Thursday, Oct 19 @ 6:30PM
Forecaster Davis
Basic Online 696-520-589
Tuesday, Oct 24 @ 6:30PM
Forecaster Satterwhite
Advanced Online 495-345-822
TBD means To Be Determined
Classes are ~2.0 hours long unless otherwise indicated
All times are Central unless otherwise noted


SKYWARN is the National Weather Service (NWS) program of trained volunteer weather spotters.  Storm spotters come from many walks of life, including fire fighters, law enforcement, and amateur radio operators.  SKYWARN spotters coordinate with local emergency management officials and send reports of weather based phenomena to the NWS.

In addition to serving as a community’s first line of defense against dangerous storms, spotters provide important information to warning forecasters who make critical warning decisions.  SKYWARN storm spotters play a critical role of giving the NWS vital ground truth data, which helps the NWS perform its primary mission, to save lives and property.

Registration will be conducted prior to the beginning of each class.  Spotter classes are not usually held during the summer months.  Additional spotter classes may not be shown in the table above when scheduled for specific groups such as law enforcement training classes.

Spotter Information

*In Adobe PDF format, a free download.

Additional Links