Line of heavy storms soak SelmaPublished 8:16pm Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Dallas County, while drenched in more than an inch of rain from Wednesday’s severe weather, reported no damage and never went under a tornado warning, though meteorologists said the possibility was there.
“We definitely knew the potential was there,” Jim Stefkovich, chief meteorologist for the National Weather Service Birmingham said Wednesday afternoon after the storms had passed through Dallas County. “We’re very fortunate that it didn’t get as bad as we said it had the potential to become. I know that probably sounds wishy-washy, but this was a typical severe weather event we get in our wintertime. It could have been much worse.”
Stefkovich said there were several factors that played into the outcome of Wednesday’s weather in Dallas County.
“A couple of factors occurred where we didn’t get as much heating during the day, so that kept the tornado activity down,” he said. “And while we didn’t have horrific damage, we did have trees and power lines go down. So I mean, it was a significant event across the state.”
Dallas County EMA director Rhonda Abbott agreed and said her office was “extremely blessed” to have had no reports of damage whatsoever.
But was the storm as bad as the NWS predicted it to be?
“That is a tough question,” Abbott said. “It’s hard, it’s impossible pretty much for the National Weather Service to forecast for one county. I don’t feel like they missed the mark at all.”
Nearby Chilton County went under a tornado warning early Wednesday morning, Abbott said, and that was from the storms ahead of that line just as they had forecasted.
“So although it may not have been exactly what was forecast for Dallas County, it was in other counties,” Abbott said. “The forecasting was correct, but like I said, they cannot forecast for one county.”
Stefkovich said the final weather report for Selma wouldn’t be available until Thursday, but noted nearby Montgomery received about 1.1 inches of rain, which he said to be common throughout the state.
“We’ve had widespread 1 to 2 inches; we’ve had some pockets of 3 inches across central Alabama that produced flooding problems up in the Birmingham area,” he said. “We’ve had gusty winds outside of the thunderstorm activity and within the thunderstorm activity — trees and power lines went down across the state, mainly in the northwestern part of the state.”
Alabama Power representative Mike Jordan, said there were approximately 500 customers without power in the Selma area early Wednesday. Just before 11 a.m. Alabama Power reported nearly 13,600 customers without power scattered throughout the state.
Pioneer Electric representative Angela Green said Pioneer Electric showed peak outages for Dallas County as of 10 a.m. Wednesday included 187 customers. Green said all outages have been restored.