Flash flood warnings were in effect Thursday for a swath of the southeastern U.S. after a stalled weather front drenched Alabama, leaving high water that covered roads, swamped a Piggly Wiggly, unleashed sewage, and forced water rescues. A child’s death was blamed on the floods.
As much as 6 inches of rain fell in about a day, the low-pressure system lingered over Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The forecast called for weighty rain Thursday in parts of metro Birmingham, which were under a flash flood watch, and meteorologists predicted another wet day for most of the state and parts of Florida.
The Marshall County coroner’s office tweeted early Thursday that a child died due to the flash flooding in Arab, in northeast Alabama.
Cars travel through floodwaters on the Montgomery Highway Wednesday near the Riverchase Galleria complex in Birmingham, Ala.
(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
FLOOD WARNINGS, STORMY WEATHER FORECAST FOR GULF COAST, SOUTHEAST
The rain caused havoc in places across north Alabama, submerging cars in metro Birmingham and parts of the Tennessee Valley. Rescue crews helped motorists escape as low visibility and standing water made travel life-threatening in some areas.
In south Alabama near the Florida line, water-covered streets in the flood-prone Escambia County towns of Brewton and East Brewton, inundating businesses in a shopping center with several feet of water.
As much as 3 feet of water was inside the community’s main grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, two schools had to cancel classes, said Escambia Sheriff Heath Jackson.
“We’re hoping that the rain is going to stop so we can get some of this water… out of here, and we can start getting into these businesses that have taken on the water to see what we can do to help them,” Jackson told WKRG-TV.
Flooding on County Road 52 spilled into a Colonial Pipeline station during Wednesday’s flood emergency, in Pelham, Ala., near Birmingham.
(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
To the south, in Baldwin County, as much as 250,000 gallons of waste water overflowed from sewage systems along Mobile Bay, officials said.
With rainfall totals already ranging from 2 inches to as much 6 across the state this week, forecasters said another 3 inches of rain was possible, with the heaviest rains to the north.
Severe storms and a few isolated tornadoes from a slow-moving low pressure system were a threat, mainly in the afternoon, forecasters said. The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for northeastern Alabama, northwestern Georgia and southern Tennessee.
Rains should end in Alabama by late Thursday as storms move eastward. Flash flood warnings were in effect through Friday along the weather front, stretching from the Florida Panhandle through northern Georgia and mountainous regions of the eastern Tennessee and the western Carolinas.