By Hannah Lester
The Lee County Emergency Management Agency is encouraging everyone to prepare now for severe weather tonight and tomorrow.
“It’s going to be a very serious situation,” said Austin Jones, emergency management specialist at Lee County EMA.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency that will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday night.
“The threat for potentially dangerous weather is rising for much of Alabama tomorrow,” Ivey said. “Out of an abundance of caution, I have issued a state of emergency for all 67 counties to ensure we are ready to act in any way needed from the state level. Projections are showing that this will likely be a widespread event, with some of the most severe weather anticipated late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. Please make preparations now in the event your area is impacted in some way. I will continue keeping a close eye on the system and encourage every Alabamian to do the same.”
The National Weather Service has issued a time from of 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon through 7 a.m. Thursday morning for severe weather, Jones said.
“That’s a broad time frame, but the reason that it’s broad, is because that 2 p.m. to about 4 or 5 p.m. is going to be some thunder storms, could be some sever thunder storms mixed in with that and then following that time frame, later on into the evening into the overnight hours is where our severe storms are.”
Lee County may see EF3 – EF5 tornadoes, Jones said.
“During the overnight hours, potential damaging winds up to 80 miles an hour and tennis ball sized hail in some areas and so that’s our big concern,” he said.
The Lee County Emergency Management Agency has shared some of the county’s safe locations, including Ralph Brown Draughon Library, Greene Hall, Auburn Methodist Church, Souther Union State Community College, Providence Baptist Church, Open Door Tabernacle Church, Greater Peace Baptist Church and Smiths Station Ruritan Club.
“Today, tonight, make your plans,” Jones said. “Make sure you and your family, your loved ones are aware of the situation and have multiple ways to receive weather notifications. Have a plan in place, for, ‘if we don’t feel safe in our home, where are we going to go, what are we going to do?’”
The city of Auburn released a press release Tuesday afternoon, reminding residents of steps they should take to prepare.
“When a storm system has the potential to develop high wind and tornadic activity, be prepared to go to a safe location on short notice,” the release said. “Have multiple methods of receiving weather alerts and information, especially throughout the nighttime hours. If you live in a mobile home, be prepared to move to a more suitable location in the event that a tornado watch is issued.
“Items to consider having on hand during severe weather are a charged cell phone and wall charger, flashlight, radio, prescription medications, and extra face masks. If you intend to take a pet to a shelter location, make sure in advance that they are allowed, and plan to have a leash or crate to keep them restrained.”
Follow along with the Lee County EMA Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/leecoema.