BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A powerful winter storm struck Alabama Sunday afternoon, leaving behind several inches of snow and layers of ice on roads as far south as Montgomery.
The storm began dumping sleet in west Alabama Sunday afternoon and quickly spread east. By sunset Sunday, most of the roads across north and central had become treacherous, prompting authorities across all of the northern half of Alabama to close roads in their jurisdictions or recommend people not attempt to drive.
Later Sunday night, the sleet and freezing rain changed over to snow. By midnight, several inches of snow had fallen across north Alabama. Heavier snowfall amounts were reported in locations north of Birmingham.
The snowfall was intense at times. At one point, thunder snow was reported in Birmingham.
The FOX6 StormWarn Team predicted the snow would change back to a sleet and freezing rain mixture north of Interstate 20 by sunrise Monday.
Gov. Bob Riley declared a state of emergency across Alabama earlier in the day. Riley urged people to not travel unless necessary.
"We face a serious storm," Riley said in a news release. "With the accumulations of ice that are projected to begin tonight, motorists should stay off roads."
Riley said the state Department of Transportation had readied snow and salt trucks to help clear icy roads and state troopers were working 12-hour shifts to help motorists. He said the 7,000 Alabama National Guardsman on duty for training this weekend are helping the state prepare for the wintry blast.
Meanwhile, residents flocked to grocery stores to stock up on milk, bread and snow shovels Sunday, as businesses and schools told
workers and students to stay home Monday. Grocery stores were reporting empty shelves as early as Sunday morning.
Power company crews from as far away as Ohio were traveling to Alabama to help with any mass power outages, Alabama Power Company
spokesman Michael Sznajderman said. About 170 out-of-state workers were setting up throughout the state to supplement the state's work
force, he said.
Auburn University has canceled all viewing parties and other events planned for Monday night's BCS championship game against Oregon. And the college is asking all students who have not returned to campus for the start of the semester to stay home until the roads are clear, though dorms will stay open for students already on campus.
The FOX6 StormWarn team will continue to provide updates on this storm on FOX6, FoxAlabamaLive.com, or MyFoxStorm.com. Live updates can also be viewed via our FREE iTunes app on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.
The FOX6 StormWarn team will also continue to post weather updates on the weather blog at www.MyFoxTracker.com.
You can get the latest school, church and business closings on www.MyFoxClosings.com. The closings are automatically posted there after they are reported to the FOX6 Newsroom.
If you have pictures or video of the snow or ice, please send them to us. You can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or upload them at www.TellFox.com.
You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook. The FOX6 Newsroom can be found at www.twitter.com/myfoxal and www.facebook.com/myfoxal, while the FOX6 StormWarn team can be found at www.twitter.com/myfoxstorm and www.facebook.com/WBRCWeather.
Copyright 2011 WBRC. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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