Governor: ‘This is a very dangerous situation’

Published 3:16 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gov. Robert Bentley urged residents across Alabama to stay home as the winter storm continues.

“This is a very dangerous situation,” Bentley said in a press conference at 3 p.m. Tuesday. “People need to stay at home.”

The storm has hit central Alabama harder than expected, with widespread reports on social media of drivers stranded on highways and children unable to get home from school. Some churches and businesses have opened as shelters in the Birmingham area for those who have had to abandon their cars.

Bentley said state government offices will be closed through noon Thursday for all non-emergency staff, and he has activated the National Guard to assist as needed.

The state House did not have a quorum to meet today, while the Senate’s 22 members did constitute a quorum, although little debate was expected. Both houses are expected to return Thursday.

“If you have an emergency, dial 911. If you have a roadside assistance emergency, dial *HP,” Bentley said. “You need to keep in mind that you need to dial 911 for a true emergency.”

Bentley said he sympathized with those parents whose children are still stuck at schools in Jefferson, Shelby and Talladega counties.

“A number of schools across the state where people are having difficulty getting to their children,” he said. “I understand the anxiety of parents who cannot get to their children. … If you trust your teacher to take care of your child during the day, they will be taken care of tonight.”

Bentley noted that loss of power has been minimal because there has not been much icing on power lines.

He urged residents to look out for each other during the storm.

“If you have a neighbor who has problems, please call someone and let us know,” he said.