Heavy rainfall causes issues in Shoals communities

Heavy rainfall causes issues in Shoals communities
Heavy rainfall causes issues in Shoals communities(Heavy rainfall causes issues in Shoals communities)
Published: Feb. 7, 2020 at 5:06 AM CST
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MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WAFF) -Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford said he and many of the city’s public works employees pulled an all-nighter Wednesday as more than 6 inches of rain fell on the city and surrounding areas.

"We've had people out around the clock," Bradford said.

Several areas in the city and in rural Colbert County experienced flash flooding, Colbert County Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Smith said. Many of those areas are the same places that normally flood during heavy rainfall.

Much of the floodwaters that topped city and county roads receded after the rainfall subsided, Smith said.

Water was still rushing drainage areas in Muscle Shoals on Thursday morning and a portable pump sat in what looks like a lake behind the Cornelius Landing subdivision off Alabama 20.

Water lapped against several backyard fences in the neighborhood, but Bradford said it had not entered any homes. A flexible pipe attached to the pump snaked up Carron Lane where it emptied out near a storm drain.

Bradford said he has also secured a second portable pump that can be moved around the city if needed. Weather forecasts call for additional rain next week.

The city purchased 3,000 sand bags and 1,000 were filled Wednesday. Some were used around Valley Grove Baptist Church on Old Alabama 20.

Colbert County Engineer Jeremy Robison said the rain gauge at the Road Department office read 6.4 inches Thursday morning.

Muscle Shoals City Engineer Brad Williams said 7.4 inches is considered a "100 year flood" event. Robison said only 2-3 inches of rainfall was predicted.

Robison said flooding in the county was mostly isolated in the usual places, such as Cassie Davis Street in Leighton and East Sixth Street, which has been under water for about a month.

He said Crockett Lane in Leighton was flooded, and there was isolated flooding along Old Alabama 20. On Thursday morning, the entrance to Aviator Estates was blocked by water.

"We're just hoping next week's forecast doesn't come through," he said. "That's when we'll really have a problem. People are tired of hearing it, but these rains are not normal."

He said drainage systems are not designed for constant at or near 100 year flood level rainfall.

"It's not supposed to happen, but it's happening fairly often," he said.

In Tuscumbia, flooding at Spring Park kept Claunch's Cafe and Dick Howell's Barbecue from opening Thursday.

"It's a mess," Parks and Recreation Department Director Joel Kendrick said. "It seems like the last couple of years, the weather has just been brutal."

He said the popular carousel that was damaged in the February 2019 flood is still not functional. He said parts of the roller coaster in Spring Park were removed ahead of the flooding this week, as was the park's train.

Water surrounded the pavilion and the covered bridge west of the park.

Police Chief Tony Logan said an owner rescued several horses were from a flooded field Woodmont Drive on Thursday morning.

Smith said there was a small power outage in Cherokee and a power pole in a field had snapped.

Bradford said he's contacting state legislators to inform them of the flooding issues in the city.

Colbert County Administrator Roger Creekmore said there was wind damage in the Allsboro area, but it's unknown if it was caused by high winds or a tornado.

George Grabryan, director of the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency, said a few roads were blocked due to flooding and some trees were downed, particularly in the eastern end of the county.

Grabryan said there was more damage across the state line in Tennessee and the National Weather Service might survey the Lauderdale County damage to see how it relates to the Tennessee damage.

"We were fortunate to not have more damage," Grabryan said. "We have some trees in the Lexington area that were twisted and we've got a couple of sheds damaged there, so we'll get the weather service to look at that. It looks like that may be the precursor of the damage they got in Tennessee."

A weather service survey of rain totals indicated much of the Shoals received 3-5 inches of rainfall over a 48-hour span through 6 a.m. Thursday.

The Tennessee River at Florence surpassed flood stage Thursday, reaching 19.81 feet by 3 p.m., according to weather service data. Flood stage is 18 feet. It is expected to surpass the 22-foot make today, according to the weather service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.

At 21.5 feet, water covers the Florence Harbor Marina parking lot, as well as the soccer field and driving range at McFarland Park, according to the service.

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