NWS Says Four Tornadoes Struck Alabama, New Laws Could Benefit Craft Breweries

Feb 4, 2016

Tornado damage near McMullen, Ala.
Credit NWS Birmingham

After completing their damage assessments yesterday, the National Weather Service says at least four tornadoes struck western Alabama earlier this week.

NWS officials say an EF2 tornado struck the McMullen community in Pickens County Tuesday evening, destroying 13 homes. 10 of the structures were mobile homes. EF2 tornadoes can have winds speeds between 113 and 157 mph and are known to cause considerable damage.

Another tornado damaged facilities at a federal women’s prison in Aliceville. The low-security female prison houses around 1,850 inmates. Officials say the administration building was damaged, but none of the inmates or staff was injured.

The National Weather Service says tornadoes also hit the Ethelsville area of Pickens County, Fayette County and Lamar County. Additional details on the extent of damage in those areas weren't immediately available. Some residents reported minor injuries, but there have been no weather-related deaths reported stemming from Tuesday’s storms.

Supporters of Alabama’s craft beer industry are looking for some help from the state legislature this year.

The Alabama Law Institute is looking for a bill to loosen regulations on how and where small breweries can sell their products. Under current laws, small beer makers can only sell alcohol directly to consumers to drink at the brewery.

Eric Hull is one of the owners at Black Warrior Brewing Company in Tuscaloosa. He says the regulation changes could fill a need which customers already ask for.

‘’You know, we get a number of people either coming in from out of town, traveling through, wanting to try different beers, or people just looking to have a growler of beer for their cookout that weekend, or something. So we’ll be able to supply them directly with that. And so we’re optimistic that that will get passed this year.”

Zoning restrictions also require craft breweries to be located in historic buildings or in economically distressed neighborhoods. The Alabama Law Institute wants that changed as well.

Alabama’s agriculture industry will be the star of the show in the town of Atmore today.

Farm Day 2016 gets underway this morning at Grace Fellowship Church. New technologies and techniques will be showcased to help the state’s farmers do their jobs better and make more money at it.

Kim Wilkins is the Regional Extension Agent in southwest Alabama for Agronomic Crops. She says all of the exhibits and speakers will help farmers prepare for the next season.

“Each year we try to provide a lot of information. Just kind of an update on what’s going on in the row-crop community and anything our farmers need to be looking for or to be aware of in the coming year. We just give them an update and help them prepare for the upcoming season.”

Topics will include the economic outlook for the year, controlling diseases and insects that attack crops, and price protections for corn.