Flood danger diminishes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Don’t mess with Old Man River &045;&045; even when he’s behaving …

It’s Tuesday morning.

The Alabama River, which was expected to crest at 51 feet by Wednesday &045;&045; six feet above the 45-foot flood level &045;&045; is now probably at about 45 1/2 feet &045;&045; and dropping, still a concern, but nothing catastrophic.

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According to Brett Howard, director of the Dallas County Emergency Management Agency, the river is expected to fall below 30 feet by Friday evening.

But don’t go dancing on the river bank just yet … this old man’s as unpredictable as a Kentucky Derby horse race.

Says Howard: &uot;We really got lucky this time that the land here was relatively dry. If we’d gotten as much rain as they did up north, we would have been in big trouble.&uot;

Torrential rains last week in Jefferson and Lamar counties caused severe flooding in those areas. The water &045;&045; which spilled into the Alabama River &045;&045; eventually made it our way, causing the river to rise precipitously in the past week.

And though Selma and the surrounding area skirted this calamity, Howard offers no guarantees of future good fortune. To Howard’s recollection, the Alabama hasn’t flooded since 1990, when it rose to 57 feet, but the past means little, he says, when predicting future occurrences.

Among the local areas most vulnerable to flooding, Howard says, are parts of Selmont, Kings Bend Road, the Selma City Marina, McDowell Lake, Old Cahaba Road, Blackwell Bend and the area around the RL Ziegler Company, Inc.

For people living in flood plain areas, Howard has this advice: With advance warning, move your more expensive property out of the house; be ready to leave the house before water begins to cross the road; stay alert and listen for weather alerts; elevate your home to alleviate future problems.

And if you’re thinking about building on the flood way &045;&045; which is closer to the water’s edge than the flood plain &045;&045; don’t do it.

Old Man River doesn’t mess around.