- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The National Weather Service has acknowledged that initial forecasts were wrong about the winter storm that crippled metropolitan Birmingham. Tuesday’s storm left thousands stranded in cars, workplaces, day-care centers and schools. Gov. Robert Bentley has defended the state’s response, saying the state made plans off forecasts.

Here is a timeline of the storm:


2:32 p.m. - The National Weather Service says “winter storm possible for central Alabama.” Counties in the watch area include Chilton, Montgomery and Macon.


3:11 p.m. - National Weather Service issues a Winter Storm Warning for central Alabama including Montgomery, Dallas and Macon counties.

5 p.m. - Gov. Robert Bentley issues a statewide state of emergency beginning at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Bentley encourages schools south of Montgomery to close. Alabama Transportation Director John Cooper says they are sending cold weather resources, such as salt and spreader trucks, to the southern half of the state.


9:01 a.m. - Weather Service maintains a winter storm warning for central Alabama. The area with the highest threat saying the highest threat for significant ice accumulation will be “east of Interstate 65 and south of Interstate 85,” an area that includes Fort Deposit, Troy, Tuskegee and Union Springs.

9:01 a.m. - Weather Service issues a winter weather advisory for Birmingham and surrounding areas saying light snow is possible

11:06 a.m. - Weather Service issues a winter storm warning for the Birmingham area. The highest threat area for significant ice and snow accumulation was moved up to include much of the metropolitan area. The highest threat area was listed as “along and south of Interstate 20 and 59,” an area that includes Leeds, Homewood, Alabaster and Hoover.

Mid-morning and afternoon - Birmingham area roadways ice over quickly and become clogged as businesses and schools try to quickly dismiss. Roads become impassable. More than 11,000 students are stranded at Alabama public schools.

3 p.m. - Bentley announces he has activated 350 members of the Alabama National Guard. After the storm, Guard members helped move the cars left wrecked and abandoned on interstates.


2 p.m. - An estimated 1,600 Alabama children remained stranded at school, mostly in Hoover and in Shelby County

8:30 p.m. - Alabama Superintendent Tommy Bice notifies staff that all students were home.

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