Mayor holds weather briefing ahead of severe weather threat

Mayor Ken Sunseri, center, talks with Gerita Rye, director of safety, medical staff services, physician recruitment and marketing for Lakeland Community Hospital, and Park and Recreation Director Joel Sherrill after the meeting.

HALEYVILLE - Haleyville Mayor Ken Sunseri held a weather meeting with department heads Friday, July 20, ahead of what weather officials were predicting as a severe weather situation much more common to the spring than summer.

Mayor Sunseri informed department heads in the courtroom of City Hall that severe weather was likely, and different modes of precaution were necessary from all departments in its wake.

“This is one of those severe storms that's coming in from the northwest,” Sunseri explained, pointing attention to  recent tornadoes in Idaho from the same system.

Weather conditions for Friday, between 7-9 p.m. into the early Saturday morning hours, were favorable for high winds, potential for tornadoes and soaking rain, the mayor said.  He stressed the example of Florence that received two inches of rain in 15 minutes.

“That's what we're looking at,” he said. “My concern is, and I'm not a weather man, that we are going to have some severe weather tonight.  We've been fortunate in the past it has gone around us, but I don't think that is going to be the case.”

The area falls under an enhanced risk of severe weather. The mayor expected a tornado watch to be issued. If that occurs, the storm shelters and Community Safe Center under City Hall will be opened for the public. If the mayor sees high winds as a storm threat, he noted the safe center would be opened.

“We need to make sure that everybody that's scheduled to be in a shelter, be made  aware of the fact that you better be ready because if this thing comes about, we'll have to move rapidly,” the mayor said.

Sunseri expected the biggest threat would be trees down and loss of power. He urged departments to prepare their chainsaws and possible storm spotters to be ready.

The mayor  also urged department heads to get fuel for their vehicles. “I really feel certain that we are going to have some type of weather incident tonight,” he said. “I am more concerned about this than any other storm I have seen.”

Sunseri also stressed for department heads to use precaution out working in temperatures where the heat index was predicted to be 105, by taking proper breaks and drinking plenty of liquids.




See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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