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Bitterly cold temperatures overnight and early this morning are expected too give way to a slow warm -up today. However, the mercury is expected to remain around the freezing mark during the day across much of Alabama, particularly in northern parts of the state. Temperatures before dawn dipped to 5 in Haleyville; 8 in Huntsville and 11 in Muscle Shoals, in Montgomery, the thermometer was in the low 20s. The National Weather Service said today's high will only reach the upper 30s.
A bill to expunge certain criminal court records passed the Alabama Senate Thursday. Democratic Senator Roger Bedford of Russellville is sponsoring the legislation that allows misdemeanor charges that did not result in convictions to be removed from records. The bill originally also included some felony charges but that portion was taken out by amendment. Even with the amendment, Bedford says he was pleased with the bipartisan support.
Fire departments across the state continue to urge residents to use heating sources correctly, since the start of the new year, at least 21 people across Alabama have died in residential fires according to the State Fire Marshal's office. Investigators say a space heater may be linked to a blaze that killed an elderly couple in the Addison community in north Alabama. The two died when their mobile home went up in flames on January 12th. Thursday, Montgomery fire fighters battled house fires on East Fifth Street and on Thrasher Street. Both dwellings sustained heavy damage. No one was injured.
A potential propane gas shortage linked to recent arctic-like weather has led Governor Robert Bentley to declare a state of emergency. Bentley said declaring a state of emergency "will help Alabamians have an uninterrupted supply of propane gas and other home heating fuels. The declaration basically removes state regulations on buying and selling the gas. It also bars propane companies from price gouging.