By John Brice
Spring officially sprung astronomically speaking at 5:24 p.m Eastern Standard Time on Monday March 20th, 2023 according to the calendar, however, many residents in Chambers County were left wondering if mother nature had not gotten the memo after consecutive weeks of cool days with sufficient sunshine that failed to significantly warm up the chilly air followed by nights with plunging temperatures at or below freezing. Yet another freeze warning was issued by the National Weather Service in Birmingham on the first day of Spring in a message stating “Freeze warning remains in effect from 1am to 8am CDT Tuesday. Sub-freezing temperatures as low as 26 north. WHERE…All of Central Alabama.”
The warning went on to continue “IMPACTS…Frost and freeze conditions will kill crops, other sensitive vegetation and possibly damage unprotected outdoor plumbing. Precautionary/Preparedness Actions…Take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold. To prevent freezing and possible bursting of outdoor water pipes they should be wrapped, drained, or allowed to drip slowly. Those that have in-ground sprinkler systems should drain them and cover above – ground pipes to protect them from freezing.”
Also issued was a Hazardous Weather Outlook which read “DAY ONE…Outlook through Tonight. Widespread freezing temperatures are expected overnight. DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…Tuesday through Sunday. Temperatures will rise above freezing by around 8am Tuesday morning. Severe storms are possible Friday evening and overnight into early Saturday morning. Damaging winds and a few tornadoes appear to be the threats. SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT…Activation of storm spotters and emergency management may be needed Friday evening through early Saturday morning.”
Saint Patrick’s Day on Friday, March 17th saw slightly warmer temperatures during the day that brought about a significant amount of rainfall that ended in the late afternoon with yet another cold front moving in that evening for a weekend of still more frigid weather. Expectations of warmer weather as the week moves on failed to raise the spirits of many frost weary residents commenting on social media.
Hopes of saving money on heating costs in utility bills during an inflationary economy in crisis with a break from winter were dashed and reflected in sentiments such as “Hey spring is spring. A bit of summer a bit of winter. Depends on the time of day. I know ya heard them Tennesseans say many times. If ya don’t like our weather wait 15 minutes. That thar is spring.” Another commenter stated succinctly with tongue planted firmly in cheek “We can do one more cold morning. Not!”