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Bentley declares state of emergency

Gov. Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency for Alabama as a winter storm approaches, as emergency management officials continue to monitor weather forecasts.

Escambia County EMA Director David Adams said freezing rain could begin slightly later Tuesday morning than originally forecast.

“This precipitation may not begin until near or after daybreak,” he said. “Please do not take this as a sign that the forecast is totally off. Conditions will deteriorate rapidly as the precipitation begins to accumulate.”

Forecasts for ice accumulation are at .1 to .3 inches.

“This seems small, but can be significant for this area,” Adams said. “The National Weather Service office has stated that they cannot remember the last time that 0.3 inches of accumulated ice was forecast for this area.”

Adams advised residents to travel only if necessary Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Early Tuesday evening the precipitation will transition to a snow and sleet mixture with accumulations between 1 and 3 inches with the temperature in the low to mid 20s,” Adams said. “This snow will be on top of any ice that has collected. Driving will be very dangerous in these conditions.”

With temperatures not expected to rise much Wednesday, there is a chance for black ice Wednesday night and perhaps even Thursday morning, Adams said.

Bentley also postponed special elections for House districts 104, 31 and 53 for one week because of the weather.

“With winter weather moving into Alabama, we are taking precautions to protect Alabamians,” Bentley said. “By issuing a State of Emergency, I have directed all state agencies to take necessary actions to be prepared to respond to the anticipated winter conditions including sleet, ice and snow.  We will actively monitor the storm as it begins to hit the state and are prepared to respond to any requests for assistance.”