County braces for severe weather

Published 3:00 am Thursday, January 19, 2017

Pike County officials are urging that residents take caution this weekend as potentially severe weather moves into the area.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham shows Pike County, as well as most of Central Alabama, under a limited threat on Thursday. Pike County is also on watch as of Wednesday for severe weather Saturday and Sunday night, with the county listed as having an “elevated threat” which includes the possibility of tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds.

Pike County EMA Director Jeanna Barnes wants to make sure local residents are ready to receive weather alerts outside of the county’s 17 working sirens.

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“Please ensure that you have multiple methods of receiving weather alerts,” Barnes said. “The most reliable is a weather radio and there are several apps you can download to your smartphone. I would recommend you download apps that are from local media outlets that will give you alerts along with more local info. As we have stressed in every severe event, please do not rely on sirens as your main source of alerts.“

Goshen residents more than anyone are the target of Barnes’s advice as one of the two sirens in that area went down about a month ago and the large expenses to repair it have the county looking into other options.

“We ask Goshen residents to please remember and remind their neighbors that the siren at the Goshen Fire Department is not functioning,” Barnes said. “It is highly recommended to have a weather radio and additional methods of alert notifications such as an app or texting service.”

It may still be too far out to gauge just how severe the weather will get this weekend, Barnes said that caution is the best policy as even the most unassuming weather can quickly become deadly, as evidenced in the past in Pike County when a tornado hit the Troy Walmart.

“We would like to remind everyone that tornadoes are possible without a watch or a warning.,” Barnes said. “The tornado that hit Walmart in August 2015 was not warned until after it had hit. We were not under a tornado watch, nor did we anticipate that level of severe weather that evening. Although that was a rare incident, it is a hard reminder that weather can turn severe quickly and with zero to little warning.”

Barnes said that residents can check the Pike County EMA Facebook page, as it will be updated frequently as the weather event unfolds.