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County braces for storms, colder weather

“Winter’s trying to knock on our door.”

That’s how Pike County EMA Director Jeanna Barnes described today’s expected arrival of a cold front, which brings with it the threat of severe weather.

“We have a warm front coming up from the Gulf meeting a cold front moving in from the east,” she said. “As the warm front pushes north and the cold front pushes east, that’s where we are getting supercells.”

These “supercell” storms are spawning high winds, rain, hail and the threat of tornadoes.

“The National Weather Service has us under a ‘slight’ risk for tornadoes,” Barnes said. “A lot of people may look at that and think, ‘it’s just a slight risk’ but they need to realize that it is a risk.”

Barnes said forecasters are predicting the storms will arrive in Pike County sometime after 6 a.m. Tuesday and could possibly move out of the county by 3 p.m. or so. And that means getting to school and work in the morning will be “tons of fun,” Barnes said.

As of press time Monday, severe weather warnings had been issued for Lousiana, Mississippi and parts of western Alabama in anticipation of the front’s arrival.

After the front moves through, temperatures are expected to drop significantly. “Our high for Tuesday is forecast to be 71 degrees; for Wednesday, it’s 51 degrees. That’s a 20-degree drop in one day,” Barnes said.

And by Wednesday and Thursday night, temperatures are forecast to drop to as low as 28 degrees, she added.

“It’s going to be cold the rest of the week.”

Before then, though, Barnes is warning residents to take precautions in preparation for the storm. “Keep your weather radios on and pay attention to the weather (forecasts),” she said.

In Brundidge, residents who live near Pike County Elementary School also should take extra precautions, since the early warning siren in that area malfunctioned during testing on Monday, Barnes said. “I just got off the phone with Chief Davenport (in Brundidge) talking about what we need to,” she said. “We’ve got a plan to keep residents informed, if something were to happen with the siren. And, of course, we’ll be in direct contact with the school if we suspect anything is developing.”

Barnes said November and early December are Pike County’s second severe weather season. “People ask why this is happening now and I explain that this really is our second severe weather season,” she said. “The first is in the spring, March to May.”