Flash flood: Many areas of Selma and Dallas County were under several inches of water Wednesday as heavy rains swept through the county. Forecasters are predicting there is more rain in our future this week. --Sarah Cook
Many areas of Selma and Dallas County were under several inches of water Wednesday as heavy rains swept through the county. Forecasters are predicting there is more rain in our future this week. -- Sarah Cook

National Weather Service says more rain is coming

Published 10:08pm Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The skies opened up as rain drenched Dallas County and its surrounding areas both Tuesday and Wednesday, causing flash floods and hazardous driving conditions, but instead of a sunny relief for Thursday, the National Weather Service said residents should expect to see the area to continue getting soaked well into the weekend.

According to the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Tuesday areas in Dallas County received an estimated 2.5 inches of rain while Wednesday saw upwards of 3 inches.

Jessica Chace, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham said the rain can be attributed to a tropical air mass pulling moisture in from the Gulf of Mexico.
“Thursday the area will see increased rain chances for at least the Eastern part of the county,” Chace said, adding there is an even greater chance of rainfall over the weekend as another tropical air mass sets up.

For Dallas County residents who may feel as though they have been swimming in rain puddles for more days this summer than they have in the past, Chace said the county has seen almost as much rain in the first eight months of 2013 than in all of 2012.

Since Jan. 1 until now, the area has received 41.4 inches of rainfall and the normal value up to this point is 34.5 inches, she said, noting the area is about 7 inches above normal for the annual rainfall to this point.

The yearly average for annual rainfall is 52.93 inches.

“One of the reasons why it probably seems like there’s more (rain) than we’ve had in the past is because the last three years, we haven’t even reached 50 inches (of rain),” Chace said, noting last year there were only 43 inches of rain for the entire year. “The first half of 2013 is almost wetter than the entire 2012.”

With the increased precipitation, Chace said residents should use extreme caution while driving and avoid traveling across water-covered roadways.

“The one thing we try to tell people is, ‘Turn around, don’t drown,’ that’s kind of our catchphrase when it comes to flash flooding,” she said. “Typically there’s no way to tell what could be under that roadway — is it washed out, is there debris in the road from somebody else that got stuck — so it poses a risk to not only your life, but also to other people who might have to come rescue you.”

Keep in mind, just two feet of running water can actually lift and move most vehicles, including SUV’s and large trucks.

“People tend to underestimate the power of water, but I like to tell people to keep in mind that water is what generates a lot of the power in Alabama, so don’t ever underestimate the power of water,” Chace said.

With all of the flash flooding Dallas County has seen in the past few days, and is estimated to see during the coming weekend, the weather service advised travelers, if they must be out on the roads, to take another route to avoid water-covered roadways.

“It might not be the most convenient thing in the world, but it’s definitely a lot safer than trying to go through a flooded area,” Chace said.

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