Heavy rainfall hits county

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Heavy rain kept many residents indoors for a large portion of the day Wednesday and reports indicate rainfall will continue well into the afternoon today.

“The rain will remain a threat for most of (today),” said Jeremie Schaffer, assistant director of the Covington County Emergency Management Agency. “The National Weather Service of Mobile confirmed local reports around seven inches of rain Wednesday. The rainfall will continue through late this afternoon, but it will not be as constantly heavy as the rain we experienced Wednesday. There may be spurts of heavy rain. There is a low-pressure system down in the Gulf of Mexico we have to deal with.”

Sirens sounded throughout the county Wednesday morning as reports of a storm cell capable of producing a tornado moved across the Babbie community, but no touchdown was reported and the county escaped relatively unscathed.

“We did have some issues with really low levels of Andalusia with water running into the homes,” she said. “We had no reports of wind or lightening damage and we did not receive any reports of falling trees damaging homes.”

Schaffer said the storm system, which followed a typical track from the southwest to the southeast, brought more than enough rain for Covington County.

“We don’t need any more water. There is a line of storms still south of us they are watching. We are hoping it will bypass the south corner of us,” she said. “We do not want to wish it on someone else, but we are borderline in some areas. The Conecuh River in the River Falls area has increased to right around 21 feet and 37 feet is the minor flood level.

“Before the rain began, it was somewhere between seven and 11 feet. It would only take a short period of time for it to rise even further, with another system like we experienced Wednesday.”

Schaffer said weather predictions for the remainder of the week are favorable with clear skies forecasted for Friday evening and Saturday. Clouds will begin to re-enter the area Sunday and occasional showers will return Monday.

Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams said weather-related issues experienced throughout the city Wednesday morning were resolved quickly.

“We had to block off sections of Moore Road and Albritton Road during the first periods of rain Wednesday morning,” he said. “We had some concerns of possible erosion because we were not able to see a portion of the roadway. Approximately one hour after the rain began to back off the roads were clear. The city is fortunate to have a very efficient drainage system and it was able to move the rainwater out of the area rather quickly.”