No serious damage reported from Wednesday morning storm
by Rachael Griffin
rgriffin@annistonstar.com
Jan 31, 2013 | 10340 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An Oxford police officer blocks the street with his cruiser to keep motorists away from a flooded intersection Wednesday. A record amount of rainfall Wednesday morning caused flooding on several local streets, but officials said those streets were again passable by afternoon. (Anniston Star photo by Bill Wilson)
An Oxford police officer blocks the street with his cruiser to keep motorists away from a flooded intersection Wednesday. A record amount of rainfall Wednesday morning caused flooding on several local streets, but officials said those streets were again passable by afternoon. (Anniston Star photo by Bill Wilson)
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Storms ran rampant across Calhoun and Cleburne counties Wednesday, leaving a few flooded streets and power outages in their wake.

Mark Rose, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Calera, said Wednesday afternoon that the storm system “looked really impressive on the radar.”

Rose said the same cell that prompted tornado warnings for Calhoun and Cleburne counties also caused a tornado to touch down in Adairsville, Ga., According to Rose, the storm system passed over both counties.

Anniston received 2.62 inches of rainfall, according to Scott Unger, National Weather Service meteorologist. Unger said the figure represented a record high for any Jan. 30 in Anniston, as recorded at the airport. The previous record for the date was set in 1991 at 1.35 inches of rain, Unger said.

Early rainfall in the morning left several streets in Oxford and Anniston impassable due to flash flooding.

Oxford fire Chief Gary Sparks said firefighters rescued a mother and her two-year-old daughter on McCullars Lane when the woman’s vehicle ran off the road into a ditch.

“The car was kind of turned up on its side in the ditch,” Sparks said. “We had to go out and wade through the water.”

Sparks said the water was knee-deep and that the incident wasn’t major. It’s important for drivers to avoid water-covered roadways, he said.

“Any time you see water across the roadway do not cross it,” Sparks said. “You don’t know how deep that water is.”

The Oxford Fire Department reported flash flooding on McCullars Lane, Hale Street and Elm Street.

Sparks said those roads were free of flooding by Wednesday afternoon.

Anniston police reported that at least five intersections were flooded during the morning, but the water soon drained away.

Jonathan Gaddy, director of the Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency, said it’s fortunate the area didn’t have any major storm damage to report. However, the director said he’s encouraging residents to avoid driving through flooded areas, especially if there’s running water.

“Even a few inches of water could lift a vehicle,” Gaddy said.

Gaddy said residents can sign up for text message alerts from the EMA to stay informed of changing weather by texting CALHOUNEMA to 888777.

A spokeswoman with Alabama Power, Alyson Tucker, said 1,177 customers were without power throughout the eastern part of the state late Wednesday morning. Tucker said a majority of those outages were in Roanoke, in Randolph County.

About 200 Alabama Power customers in Anniston and Jacksonville were without power, Tucker said. She said the company had crews on the ground working by Wednesday morning. Attempts to reach Tucker for an update as evening approached were unsuccessful.

An officer at the Cleburne County EMA reported that at least three roads were impassable near Heflin. By late afternoon, however, those roads were open, EMA officials said.

Meteorologists predicted today’s conditions would be mostly sunny with possible clouds in the early-morning hours and a high of 52 degrees.
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