Flood, storm damages expected to top $1M

Published 1:38 am Tuesday, December 29, 2015

County and municipal officials in Covington County were still assessing damages from the weather system that moved through South Alabama during the Christmas break, but early estimates are that damages top $1M.

The Covington County Commission met Monday morning to declare an emergency, which allows county work crews to work outside of their normal hours.

County engineer Darren Capps said even though some county roads remained closed for the fifth day, the damage was not as bad as he expected.

“The lime rock we put down after the flooding in ’09 helped,” he said, adding that it puts a protective cap on the dirt base.

That was the year the county had significant flooding problems in March, and again in December.

Capps planned to spend time Monday putting together estimates required by state EMA in seeking federal aid, but said the repairs would easily cost more than $1 million.

Commissioner Kenneth Northey said he observed problems caused when people removed barricades and drove through dangerous or flooded roads and bridges, and Commissioner Joe Barton said the sheriff’s department had to help some of those who did.

In Andalusia, in addition to road damage, lightning cause significant problems at city hall, where City Clerk John Thompson said there was lightning damage to the central phone system and a server. As well, there were several buildings with water in them and damages to utilities.


In Opp, Mayor John Bartholomew said he and City Planner Jason Bryan were out surveying the city’s streets on Monday.

“We’ve done pretty well,” Bryan said. “Just some minor damage – nothing major.”

Bryan said the city plans to participate in trying to get some FEMA funding to make those repairs.

Bartholomew credited the extensive drainage work city crews have done this year to the city escaping without major damage.

Stacey Parker, general manage of Opp Utilities said that they had a 6 inch water main break in the early morning hours on Christmas Eve in Capital Heighs subdivision due to faulty culvert.

“They worked on it until 6:30 Thursday morning,” Parker said. “As of right now, we’ve not had any power outages.”

Covington County EMA director Susan Harris said the county fared very well, given conditions in surrounding areas.

As of Monday morning, she had not had any reports of flooded homes in low-lying areas of Covington County.