National Weather Service

Nate quickly weakened to a tropical depression after making landfall in Biloxi, Mississippi and tracking north into central Alabama, but parts of south Alabama are dealing with power outages and some flooding.

The latest forecasts estimate Hurricane Nate will make landfall on Alabama's gulf coast as a Category 2 storm, and some residents in Gulf Shores are being urged to evacuate.

weather.gov

 Strong storms have caused isolated damage in north Alabama.  

The National Weather Service says storms with winds blowing as hard as 50 mph knocked down trees and toppled power lines in the northeast Alabama city of Gadsden on Wednesday.

    No injuries were reported, but storms were still moving through the region. Forecasters say heavy rain and more damaging winds were possible north of Interstate 20.    The weather service says strong storms also were developing in south Alabama.    

Fairfield tornado damage
WTVM-TV

As the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy are expected to drench parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia today, residents in parts of Alabama will be picking up the pieces.

A powerful storm system hit Jefferson County yesterday, leaving four people injured, downing power lines and destroying buildings in the city of Fairfield. The National Weather Service in Birmingham has confirmed that a tornado struck the Fairfield area. They have given it a preliminary rating of EF-2, with an estimated wind speed of 120 miles per hour.

5-day rainfall
NOAA

Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall early this morning, and effects from the storm are still being felt across much of the northern Gulf Coast including Alabama.

Storm-related conditions have already been blamed for one death in Alabama. A ten-year-old boy from Missouri on vacation with his family in Fort Morgan, Ala. was standing outside their condominium when he was struck and killed by a log carried by storm surge.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Alabama that is still in effect.

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama

Feb 23, 2017

This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama. The National Weather Service says the peak storm season in Alabama begins in March and can last until May. While there are no major storm outbreaks in the forecast, now is the time to get ready.

Jason Beaman is a warning coordination meteorologist at the national weather service in Mobile. He says residents should remain prepared because Alabama sees tornados every year.

The National Weather Service says get ready to bundle up today through the weekend.

Frigid temperatures are in the forecast with the possibility of up to three inches of snow across the central part of the state. Forecasters think the I-20 corridor from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham will see snow accumulations which could make driving hazardous.

Gary Goggins is a forecaster with the National Weather Service. He says Alabamians should make preparations regardless of the local forecast, because trying to predict where snow is going to fall is tough.

Rehobeth
Jay Hare / Dothan Eagle

Four people were killed in Alabama as severe storms moved through the region yesterday.

Kris Ware, a spokeswoman for the Dothan – Houston County Emergency Management Agency, says the deaths occurred in the Rehobeth area in southeast Alabama, a community of around 1500 people. A suspected tornado caused a tree and power lines to fall onto a mobile home, killing four people inside.

The Dothan Eagle reports another tornado apparently touched down in nearby Taylor, Alabama, downing trees and causing some property damage.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham is getting some shiny new radar equipment.

After well over 20 years of continuous operation, the Doppler radar at the National Weather Service – Birmingham office in Calera, Alabama is getting a service life extension upgrade of most of its electronic and mechanical components. The radar will be offline until the upgrades are completed.

At least three people were killed and many more were injured after powerful storms and tornadoes swept through Alabama last night.

The Jackson County coroner’s office has confirmed that three people are dead and several more are injured in the community of Rosalie, Alabama, north of Fort Payne. County officials say the three killed were victims of a possible tornado and were all in a mobile home.

In DeKalb County, a 24-hour daycare was completely destroyed near the town of Ider. Four children were injured and are in critical condition.

SWIRLL
Alex AuBuchon / APR

All week long on Alabama Public Radio, we’ve been looking back at the tornado outbreak on April 27, 2011. The storms impacted homeowners and businesses, and you’ve heard from many of them during our coverage.

Now we’ll look ahead. For the past two months, dozens of scientists have been conducting groundbreaking research on tornadoes and severe weather right here in Alabama.

APR’s Alex AuBuchon has more on the impact that research could have on meteorologists' understanding of severe weather and forecasters’ ability to predict it.

The Mobile Police Department has released additional information on an officer-involved shooting that occurred earlier this week.

Mobile Police Chief James Barber recently held a press conference where he identified the officer involved and talked through the incident. He says 18-year-old Michael Moore was driving a stolen vehicle with two passengers when he was pulled over by officer Harold Hurst Monday evening for making an erratic turn.

Tuscaloosa vigil
Alex AuBuchon / APR

Gay rights advocates in Tuscaloosa are remembering the dozens of victims of a gruesome mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday.

Druid City Pride, an LGBTQ organization in Tuscaloosa, held a candlelight vigil last night along with countless other groups across the state and throughout the country. Those taking part memorialized the 49 people killed and remembered the dozens more injured in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Governor Robert Bentley has testified under oath in the ethics trial of the Alabama house speaker. Bentley says he remembers meeting with Mike Hubbard to discuss what he described as economic development projects.   

Prosecutors are seeking to prove that Hubbard was being paid up to $12,000 a month to illegally lobby the governor on behalf of his business clients - a municipal gas company and a maker of plastic cups.

The City of Fairfield may soon have its water shut off due to unpaid bills, according to Birmingham Water Works.

Al.com reportedly obtained an e-mail from Birmingham Water Works officials saying the city of Fairfield has accumulated over $128,000 in unpaid water bills at 17 different city addresses. In a memo to board members, Water Works General Manager Mac Underwood said it’s unfortunate that Fairfield is in this situation, but they can’t provide water service to the city for free.

hubbard trial
Brynn Anderson / AP

A jury has been chosen, and Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s ethics trial will begin next week.

Hubbard is facing nearly two dozen felony ethics charges accusing him of using his position as Speaker and past position as chairman of Alabama’s Republican Party for personal gain for himself and his businesses. Each count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Hubbard has pleaded not guilty and maintains he didn’t do anything illegal.

Alabama senators have approved establishing an innocence commission to review some of the state’s capital convictions.

Senators voted 20-6 in favor of the bill yesterday, sending it to the House of Representatives. The proposed legislation would create a panel to review new evidence in death row cases that hadn't previously been heard by a court.

Bill sponsor, Republican Senator Dick Brewbaker, says he supports the death penalty in Alabama, but he thinks the state should work harder to make sure people are guilty before executing them.

Alabama lawmakers are expected to give their final approval to the General Fund budget later today. That will set up an expected veto by Gov. Robert Bentley over what he calls inadequate Medicaid funding.

Governor Bentley says the spending plan in its current form is unacceptable and he plans to veto it. The budget is $85 million short of the amount Bentley and state Medicaid commissioner Stephanie Azar say is needed to adequately fund the state's Medicaid program.

Alabama's attorney general is appealing a recent ruling that declared the state's death penalty sentencing system unconstitutional.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Tracie Todd doesn't have the authority to prevent the state from seeking the death penalty against defendants who are charged with capital murder.

In Alabama death penalty cases, juries recommend sentences but judges have the final say. It’s not uncommon for state judges to overturn a jury recommendation of life in prison in favor of the death penalty.

Parts of the Gulf Coast are reeling after a bout of severe weather that caused Governor Robert Bentley to declare a preemptive state of emergency.

A storm reportedly knocked down trees and damaged property in Reform, Alabama, but no one was hurt. The National Weather Service tweeted that radar indicated a possible tornado in that area.

NWS radar also showed a tornado briefly touching down in Hackleburg, in northwest Alabama. Some roofs were damaged, but no injuries were reported.

A group of fast food workers and others are traveling from Huntsville to Montgomery for a rally in support of local control of minimum wages.

Workers will be joined by clergy, community supporters, and elected officials. The group will be meeting this morning at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham before holding a rally at the state Capitol in Montgomery at 1 PM.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Alabama native Harper Lee died this morning at the age 89.

Lee is best known for “To Kill A Mockingbird”, the story of a girl nicknamed Scout growing up in a Depression-era Southern town. It tells the story of about how a black man was wrongly accused of raping a white woman, and Scout's father, the resolute lawyer Atticus Finch, defends him despite threats and the scorn of many.

Alabama’s House of Representatives has approved a bill to block cities from setting their own local minimum wages. The bill would also roll back Birmingham's wage increase to $10.10 per hour, set to take effect March 1.

Legislators approved the GOP-backed bill last night on a 71-31 vote after cutting off a filibuster by House Democrats. The measure now moves to the Alabama Senate.

Alabama doesn’t have a state minimum wage. Instead, it uses the federal minimum of $7.25.

The Tuscaloosa Police Department has announced how officers will be disciplined after a violent arrest last fall that went viral.

Police Chief Steven Anderson says Officer James Kent is still on administrative leave with pay pending disciplinary action. Officer Justin Sams received a written reprimand along with remedial training to improve his communication skills.

Tuscaloosa tornado damage
NWS Birmingham / Wikimedia

The federal government says it wants its money back after auditors claim Tuscaloosa improperly received more than $1 million in aid following the 2011 tornadoes.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General has determined the Federal Emergency Management Agency should reclaim about $1.2 million in storm assistance funding.

Tornado Damage
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.

Tornado
Scott Peake / Basehunters

The threat of flooding in parts of Alabama follows up a pair of tornadoes that hit west central Alabama last night.

Dozens of homes near Aliceville were reportedly damaged, but police report only minor injuries and no deaths. Damage assessment teams from National Weather Service will spend the morning examining the aftermath of two tornadoes that marched single file just west of Tuscaloosa.

Forecaster Jason Holmes says the clues those teams find today will establish what kind of storm hit specific areas.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

The next session for Alabama’s state legislature will convene at noon today.

State lawmakers are starting the 2016 session on Groundhog Day to some very familiar budget issues, but there will likely be some new debates as well.

Alabama’s legislative session gets underway tomorrow and the focus, is expected to be on the budget.

The state’s two spending plans were center stage during last year’s session, and lawmakers are expecting another tight year this time around. Many General Fund agencies like the one that handles Medicaid are now asking for more money.

State House member Bill Poole says the General Fund budget will be a challenge for legislators, but he believes agreements will be reached.

Christopher Brooks
Alabama Department of Corrections

The state of Alabama executed Christopher Brooks last night for the 1992 rape and murder of Deann Campbell.

The execution was the state’s first in more than two years and the first to be carried out in Alabama using the controversial new sedative midazolam. Some say midazolam carries a high risk of botched executions, and there is currently a pending lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Alabama’s lethal injection procedure.

But Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn says last night’s execution went “exactly as planned”.

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