Merry Christmas to all, and we really hope Santa brought you a weather radio…
Weather: Dangerous severe weather threat today. Of all the days of the year to be worrying about tornadoes, one would hope this would be the last. Unfortunately that is not the case, as central Alabama is under the gun for possible life-threatening severe weather Christmas afternoon and evening. Though the biggest threat for storms lies in an area just to our south and west, metro Birmingham is still very much in the danger zone — the likelihood of severe weather is 30 to 45 percent within 25 miles of any given point in our area, and there is a 10 to 15 percent chance of a tornado.
The bad weather starts this afternoon around 3 or 4 p.m., when a warm front moves north through the mid-state. That will set up the atmosphere for discrete thunderstorm cells, some of which may become supercells that spawn tornadoes. Behind that, a strong cold front will move through the state tonight, forming a squall line with strong storms and straight-line winds. That line should be out of the metro Birmingham area by 1 a.m. or so.
Bottom line: Thus is shaping up to be a major outbreak, and precautions should be taken now so that you can move quickly if events warrant. Get your holiday festivities done early, especially if it involves driving — being out on the roads past 3 p.m. today is not recommended. Make sure that your weather radio is working properly to receive warnings, or that you have one of the new smart-phone apps to warn you. Keep an eye on local television stations, the National Weather Service through its website (http://www.srh.weather.gov/bmx/) as well as the NJN Facebook page, Twitter feed and here at njeffersonnews.com.
Jack Klugman passes. The actor best known for his portrayal of unkempt sportswriter Oscar Madison opposite Tony Randall in “The Odd Couple,” as well as a crime-fighting coroner in “Quincy,” died Monday at age 90. Klugman, known for his raspy voice (which he lost to cancer a few years ago, then retrained himself to speak) and his everyman demeanor, was a television and film favorite for many years. Married for many years to Brett Somers of “Match Game” fame, Klugman was also known as an inveterate horseplayer; he parlayed that into race horse ownership, with his best-known horse — appropriately named Jaklin Klugman — finishing third in the Kentucky Derby.
Sports: Like pro basketball? If so, today is your day with five big games on tap, beginning with Boston vs. Brooklyn (11 a.m., ESPN). The Knicks and Lakers go at it at 2 on ABC, followed by Miami and Oklahoma City — assuming it isn’t pre-empted a guy in suspenders standing in front of a live tower-cam video of a tornado coming through.