Some schools in central Alabama are closing early at the mention of snow or sleet in the forecast.
Systems around metro Birmingham and Tuscaloosa began releasing students ahead of schedule Thursday as forecasters said there was a chance of a wintry mix in some areas.
Forecasters hadn't issued any winter storm watches or warnings at the time, and the weather service said temperatures were above freezing.
But school officials weren't taking any chances. Meteorologists failed to predict a winter storm that hit metro Birmingham and left more than 11,000 students stranded overnight in schools last week.
The weather service did issue an alert for Marengo and Sumter counties near the Mississippi state line because of the possibility of snow and sleet accumulations of as much as one-half inch.
The University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Samford University have canceled evening classes as a precaution. Many athletic events and meetings have been canceled in the Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Montgomery areas as well.