By Jamon Smith
TUSCALOOSA | The big chill that Tuscaloosa experienced Tuesday tied the record for the lowest Oct. 28 temperature ever recorded in the city.
The temperature dropped to a low of 28 degrees early Tuesday morning and was forecast to do the same Tuesday night.
The Tuscaloosa record was originally set on Oct. 28, 1957, said John Sirmon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
‘This is just kind of an early season surge of cold air,’ Sirmon said. ‘It’s not all that unusual, but the normal low for this time of the year is 47 degrees.’
The National Weather Service on Tuesday issued a freeze warning for central and West Alabama, effective from 1 to 9 a.m. today.
Sirmon said delicate plants and pets should be brought indoors overnight when the temperatures near the freezing mark.
‘We’re not expecting a hard freeze where you have to worry about pipes bursting, but plants need to be moved inside and any kind of standing water will freeze over,’ Sirmon said. ‘There should be frost on the ground in the morning.’
Maj. Mark Smith, head of the Salvation Army of West Alabama, said the Salvation Army’s shelter has been full the last two nights because of the cold snap.
‘The shelter has been close to full for almost a year now,’ Smith said Tuesday. ‘But we were at full last night, and we’ll be full tonight, but we won’t turn anyone away. We will put cots in the hallway if we have to.’
Despite the frosty chill, power bills haven’t shot up yet.
Joseph Brown, external affairs manager for Alabama Power, said that late January is when people start turning the heat on.
‘I can’t see this little spike making a difference,’ Brown said. ‘Actually, at this time of year people are just turning off their air conditioners so our services are at the lowest.
‘A lot of people stall before they turn on their heat,’ he said.
Temperatures throughout the rest of the week are expected to steadily warm up.
The low for today is forecast to be 38 degrees with a high of 63 degrees. Thursday’s low is also forecast at 38 degrees with a high of 71 degrees. Friday’s low is forecast to be 41 degrees with a high of 72 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
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