By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
It might be hard for some folks to believe after five successive days of temperatures near or below 20 degrees, but the winter weather is on its way out of the area, and locals can expect afternoon highs above 60 degrees before the weekend.
Except for a power outage that left Alabama Power Co. customers in the dark for several hours Saturday, Christmas Eve, there were few problems associated with the arctic cold front that sent overnight lows plummeting for most of the past week and brought belligerent winds that created single-digit chill factors.
The outage occurred just before daylight and lasted until about 10 a.m. for most residents of the city and immediate area, longer for some. Alabama Power External Affairs Manager Beth Thomas reported that approximately 3,000 customers were without power in the Atmore area during the outage.
“We had nothing but the power outage,” said Fire Chief Ron Peebles. “We had no structure fires, nothing, so we came out perfect.”
Several local residents reported burst pipes that left them without water, and a reported scarcity of replacement pipe at Bondurant Hardware and Marvin’s — reportedly the only two local stores at which the pipe may be purchased — compounded the problem for some.
West Escambia Utilities crews were on the scene Tuesday morning (December 27) of a burst water main on North Main Street, and WEU General Manager Kenny Smith could not be reached for comment on the deep freeze’s overall effect on the city.
No major traffic crashes or other incidents were reported by city police over the period of cold, and MedStar ambulance crews were able to stay mostly inside.
But as suddenly as the frigid weather arrived, it will be gone, at least for a while.
According to AccuWeather.com, for the period from Friday, December 23, until Monday, December 26, Atmore’s daytime highs ranged from 34 on Christmas Eve to a balmy 50 on Monday. Overnight lows for that same period were 22, 18, 22 and 21 degrees, with wind chills below 10 degrees in some areas on Christmas morning.
Forecasts call for a low of 27 for Tuesday night, December 27, before a fairly rapid warmup envelopes the area throughout the remainder of the week. Wednesday’s high is expected to exceed 60, with an overnight low around 50, then three straight days of highs near 70 and lows in the 50-to 60-degree range are forecast.
On the downside, the warmer temperatures will increase the chance that rain will move into the area Friday and Saturday, creating a soggy end to 2022.