North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

December 20, 2013

NJN/am for Friday, December 20

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

— It's Friday, and the start of the Christmas holidays – stay safe if you're headed out of town...

Weather: Could get ugly. The National Weather Service has become a bit more aggressive in their forecast of the storm system over the weekend. They are now forecasting that a squall line will enter Alabama late Saturday night, possibly as early as 9 p.m., and move across the state in the overnight hours. As of now, it looks like the line will reach the metro Birmingham area around 3 or 4 a.m. on Sunday. The Storm Prediction Center has posted a slight risk for severe weather for our area, but a moderate risk for Saturday afternoon in an area basically along the Mississippi River in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. The main threat will be severe thunderstorms with damaging straight-line winds, but there's now a better chance for the formation of a few supercell storms ahead of the line, which could produce isolated tornadoes. Because of the timing of this system to hit overnight, you're strongly advised to have a NOAA Weather Radio that can wake you up if warnings are issued. The system should exit our area before church begins Sunday morning. As for today, we'll see cloudy skies with a slight chance of showers in the afternoon and highs in the middle 60s. Rain chances increase tonight and tomorrow, with lows tonight in the upper 50s and highs Saturday near records levels for the date in the middle 70s. Temps cool off as the storm system passes, with highs on Monday only reaching the lower 50s.

Looking good. The city of Pinson's audit for the previous fiscal year is complete, and the numbers show increased tax revenue for the year compared to the previous one. Auditors presented their report during Thursday night's city council meeting, and said that the city finances are in good shape with no irregularities. The council also heard from the firm designing the new Pinson City Park, and tweaked plans for the disc golf course, playground and splash pad there.

Obamacare changes. The Obama Administration announced yesterday that it was lifting the deadline to apply for health insurance for individuals who had their existing insurance canceled because of changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. That news affects thousands here in Alabama who had plans cut off by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. In addition, many of those will now be able to purchase a lower-cost “catastrophic” plan with less coverage, but which will not be eligible for subsidized premiums for lower-income individuals and therefore may not cost less than so-called “bronze level” plans available with subsidies.

Sports: Holiday hoops. Dalton Hudson scored 22 points for the second straight game, as Mortimer Jordan defeated Tarrant 80-60 in the first day's play at the Corner Christmas boys basketball tournament on Thursday. Elsewhere, Pinson Valley's boys crushed Moody by 52 points, and the Indians girls also won over the Devils to snap a five-game losing streak. And in wrestling, Fultondale won matches over Butler and host Shelby County in a multi-team meet Thursday night.