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NWS: Look Out For A Stormy Christmas

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Residents in northwest Florida and south Alabama are advised to keep tabs on the weather the next couple of days, since the area remains under a hazardous weather outlook.

A surface-level high pressure area off to the east has been causing a flow of warm air up from the Gulf of Mexico, which is keeping temperatures in the 60's and 70's around the clock.

“It looks like it’s going to continue as we approach Christmas,” said Don Shepherd, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mobile. Those warm temps also mean a heightened chance for severe weather.

“When we have the much warmer, more unstable air this time of the year, you do have a severe [weather] potential that could rear its head,” said Shepherd. “But it looks like what we’ve got it a front that’s going to be moving toward the area. So we’ll have the showers and thunderstorms, and some of those could be severe.”

According to the Weather Service, Wednesday could bring a chance of tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail, along with heavy rainfall produced by the slow-moving front.

Meanwhile, Gulf Power Company is placing crews on standby, in case outages are reported in its service area from Pensacola to the Big Bend.

“Our crews train for this every single day,” said Rick DelaHaya, a spokesman for the utility.  If the power goes out, they’ll be going out.”

If you happen upon a fallen power line, stay away from it and call Gulf Power or your local law enforcement agency.

DelaHaya also encourages customers to visit the website www.gulfpower.com for the latest information, and can follow along on the free Gulf Power app.

The unseasonably warm temps are expected to hang around at least through the weekend, says forecaster Don Shepherd – when round two is expected to move into the area.

“We have another system, potentially strong, that could affect the area next Monday, Monday night and into early Tuesday,” Shepherd said. “And then behind it, we look like we may finally cool off a little bit.”

After that second system moves through, Shepherd says conditions in the western Panhandle and south Alabama should begin moving back to more common readings for this time of year.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.
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