Christmas Day storm preparations - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Christmas Day storm preparations

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The threat of severe weather Tuesday had lots of people preparing in another way Christmas Eve. They went shopping. Things like flashlights and weather radios were hot items at stores all over Central Alabama.

Some did visit store aisles that have flashlights and radios, but a majority of shoppers were still very focused on getting those last minute gifts. Yes, the holiday is here, but The National Weather Service and the Alabama EMA is urging people to have a severe weather plan ready, especially if you have plans to leave your house.

Mark Linhares with the National Weather Service says "We're looking at a fairly severe threat for wind damage along with the possibility of strong tornadoes."

Holiday plans are now coupled with severe weather plans during the heart of the fall severe weather season.

Kathy Graham and her husband are suppose to head back home to Florence, Alabama Christmas Day and they're now re-thinking their plans. "We're going to watch the weather very carefully in the morning and a make decision do we leave early or stay and watch the kids play."

While many last minute shoppers at Target loaded carts with gifts, Charles Lowery wanted to buy a second weather radio for his basement. "We're worried, we already did our out of town visitation, but we're kind of worried. We're still going to grandma's house tomorrow."

With Christmas visits like that planned and with family members in from out of town.. the Alabama EMA is urging everyone to have a plan wherever you are.. and watch your time frame if you do head out.

Johnny Molina who was doing some last minute shopping Monday told us, "We stay or go down in the basement and stuff like that. I learned that from last time April 27th."

The Alabama EMA has briefed local emergency management teams and other agencies -- to be ready to respond. Director Art Faulkner says, "If we get widespread damage, we need to make sure we have shelters and warming stations open for individuals to take shelter."

The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office is also monitoring the situation. It has launched its emergency operations plan and has moved equipment to various locations. Deputies and dispatchers are also on standby to respond if they are needed Tuesday. The sheriff's office is also encouraging everyone to get their tornado plan ready now.

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