Arctic cold hits county
by Briana Webster
Jan 07, 2014 | 896 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The fountain outside the Bankhead House and Heritage Center froze as temperatures dropped well below freezing Sunday night and stayed below 32 degrees all day Monday.  – Photo by: Briana Webster.
The fountain outside the Bankhead House and Heritage Center froze as temperatures dropped well below freezing Sunday night and stayed below 32 degrees all day Monday. – Photo by: Briana Webster.
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An arctic blast of frigid air swept across Walker County and the rest of the state Sunday night into the early morning hours Monday causing power outages, school and business delays, and even flight cancellations.

With highs only in the mid-20s Monday and dwindling to single digits between Monday night into Tuesday morning, many area schools prepared in advance and notified parents via telephone schoolcasts. Walker County and Jasper City schools will open two hours later today and Wednesday at 10 a.m. Buses will run at 9 a.m. for both school systems today and Wednesday.

The winter weather also caused several delays and cancellations for arriving and departing flights at Alabama airports. AL.com reported a number of cancellations and many delays at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Huntsville International Airport and “heavier” arrival delays through the afternoon coming in to the Mobile Regional Airport.

Alabama Power media spokesman Freddy Padilla said by 3 a.m. Monday there were 3,000 power outages within the company’s service territory. Thankfully, those numbers had decreased by Monday afternoon.

“Right now, through our service territory which is just north of Birmingham down to Mobile, we got 260 customers out,” Padilla said as of 4:30 p.m. Monday. “The majority of those were in Birmingham with about 200. Right now there’s just nine people out in the whole western division and four of those are in Jasper.”

The American Red Cross advises the public to stay safe and warm by following these steps: wear layers of clothing (including hats and gloves), bring pets indoors, run water — even at a trickle — to avoid pipes from freezing, keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night, never use a stove or oven to heat your home, keep space heaters on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away, turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed, and use generators correctly.