Snow projection map 1-6-17 3-47 am
The National Weather Service has expanded its winter storm warning area to include Jefferson County (in addition to Shelby County).
The weather service early Friday morning was projecting up to 2 inches of sleet and snow from Tuscaloosa to Gadsden (including Jefferson County) and up to 3 inches of sleet and snow for Shelby County and points eastward.
Gov. Robert Bentley signed a state of emergency declaration effective 7 a.m. Friday morning, and many school systems, including Hoover and Shelby County schools, announced they would be closed Friday.
Also, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said all city offices will be closed Friday, plus the Hoover Recreation Center, Hoover Public Library, Hoover Senior Center and Aldridge Gardens. City offices will resume normal operating hours on Monday, weather permitting, the mayor said. Other city facilities could reopen with regular hours over the weekend as weather permits, city spokeswoman Lori Schommer said.
Ice is another major concern, National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Westland said Thursday. Weather forecasters were predicting up to 0.1 inches in most of Jefferson county, with possible higher accumulations in Shelby County.
As for timing, Westland said Thursday the first flakes could fly as early as 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., with the major line of snow settling in between noon and 10 p.m.
"That's all subject to change," he said, because the line of precipitation is relatively thin, and any major shift north or south in its path would make a big difference.
Still, Westland suggested Birmingham metro residents act as if there would be accumulation.
"Get what you need done tonight, and if they do cancel schools or whatever else is going on tomorrow, if you don't need to get out and the snow starts flying, certainly don't get out on the roads," he said.
When the snow does start falling, Westland said they can't predict specifically where traveling will be dangerous, but that motorists should use extreme caution and consider making changes to travel plans if possible.
Whatever does end up making its way through the area is not expected to cause major power outages and shouldn't hang around for long, Westland said, and sunny skies on Saturday should help with any freezing or major road hazards.
Westland encouraged people to still use caution Saturday, especially in shady areas which may remain slick.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates.