More rainfall moving through Friday night, Saturday

Published 11:53 am Friday, March 27, 2009

Don’t be fooled by a break in the rain Friday afternoon. It won’t last.

A briefing by Kevin Laws, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service shortly before noon revealed another front will push through from Mississippi early Saturday, sparking severe weather in the state.

A low over the southern third of Alabama likely will result in some thunderstorms and heavy rain late Friday. The storms should begin developing from 6 to 9 p.m., spreading to just south of Shelby County by midnight. But by 6 a.m. Saturday, a cold front moving in from Central Mississippi should connect with the low, resulting in the possibility of some severe weather. Laws said he expects the storm center to issue a tornado watch at some point between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. for the area. By noon all watches should be in place, he said.

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Laws said the Storm Prediction Center gives this region, which includes Dallas County and Selma, a 45 percent chance for severe weather. That prediction is high, he said.

The most intense rainfall for the area should be 1-to-3 inches in areas south of Interstate 20. “Watch for continued problems,” Laws said.

Rhonda Abbott, interim director of the Dallas County Emergency Management Agency, said residents living near or having property along the Alabama or Cahaba rivers should remain aware. The Alabama River is expected to crest Saturday afternoon at 36 1/2-to-37 feet. The Cahaba River at Marion Junction is expected to crest Saturday at 28 1/2-to-29 feet.

“Residents living in low lying areas with cattle or equipment need to make arrangements to get them relocated to higher ground,” she said.

As flooding around Oakmulgee Creek begins, cattle need to be moved to higher ground. Overflow of pasturelands increases at stages above 20 feet along the Cahaba River, Abbott said.

Pastureland below Selma becomes flooded at stages of 35 feet and above along the Alabama River.

“Citizens should be aware that necessary precautions need to begin now to ensure safety,” Abbott said. “Anyone with rainfall totals or with concerns along either river should contact EMA at 874-2515. Persons with concerns should begin taking appropriate measures now to secure loose lawn items and make arrangements to move cattle to higher ground and move any equipment that could be in danger along the river ways. All residents living in flood-prone locations should take extra precaution, monitor river levels and stay tune to local media for the latest updates as we approach the next several days.”