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Southeast Prepares For First Winter Storm Of The Season

The Southeast is preparing for the first winter storm this season. Though precipitation is expected, warmer air and ground temperatures should prevent serious sticking or freezing.

Haunted by the memories from unanticipated winter weather in 2014, officials in Jefferson County, Ala., made the call to delay school by two hours Friday. The potential for precipitation comes with the first winter storm advisory of the season that could affect states from Texas to the Carolinas. Depending on the state, advisories stretch from Thursday evening into Friday morning.

The concerns stem in part from the chance of rain and dropping temperatures. In an area with many hills and fewer snowplows, icy roads close things down quickly. As of Thursday evening, multiple city and county schools in and around Jefferson County had announced delays or closures. The National Weather Service predicts between 1/4 and 1/2 inch of precipitation across most of Alabama.

WBRC in Birmingham reports that air temperatures were above freezing on Thursday afternoon. That, in addition to warmer ground temperatures, should avoid a "nightmare scenario," according to meteorologist J-P Dice.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency issued warnings that people should be particularly careful on bridges and overpasses.

"Anytime we talk about snow, especially in south Mississippi, people get concerned," MEMA Director Lee Smithson said in a statement. "We are not expecting any major issues with the snow, our biggest concern is with the extended cold temperatures all over the state through the weekend."

MEMA recommended that locals dress in layers and to be prepared with emergency kits in their homes and cars — if they have to drive at all. Officials recommend checking on neighbors, especially the sick or elderly.

In the afternoon and evening hours, those in central and south Texas shared photos of snow on Twitter — some accounts boasting a sense of humor surrounding the South's reaction to winter weather.

As the storm moves through the area, cold temperatures are expected to stick around through the weekend even if the snow doesn't.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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