Roads closed, tourists leave Ala. coast due to Ike

Published 9:07 pm Thursday, September 11, 2008

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) _ Waves and storm surge stirred up by Hurricane Ike forced the evacuation of a small number of tourists on the Alabama coast Thursday and prompted the closing of the Dauphin Island bridge, as well as the eastbound lanes of the Mobile Bay Causeway.

The huge storm was headed toward a landfall on the Texas coast, but rising water covered part of Fort Morgan Peninsula and washed under beachfront homes in Gulf shores. Foley police used a truck to take some tourists to safety after water covered Fort Morgan Road.

“Their cars had gotten buried under sand before they could get out,” said Paula Tillman, a spokeswoman for Baldwin County.

The flooding from Ike already was worse than it was during Hurricane Gustav almost two weeks ago, she said.

“Our main concern now is that the tide is out, and as it comes back in overnight we are going to see possibly more significant flooding,” Tillman said.

To the west off the coast of Mobile County, Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier said the power went out and the town’s elementary school was closed. School officials hoped to reopen Friday.

Gustav damaged a protective sand berm on Dauphin Island, and water pushed ashore by Ike breached a berm in western Gulf Shores, officials said. Water covered low-lying roads at Point Clear on Mobile Bay.

The National Weather Service issued a coastal flood warning across Mobile Bay until noon Saturday. Tides could be five feet above normal.