Rivers rising rapidly

Published 4:42 pm Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Alabama River is on the rise, but forecasters at the National Weather Service in Birmingham say the rain has cleared out for now.

The Alabama River at Selma is expected to crest at 41.5 feet today, 3 1/2 feet below flood level, according to Rhonda Abbott, interim director of the Dallas County Emergency Management Agency.

This is a revision from earlier forecasts that placed the river at about 38.5 feet. A series of storms rolled through Alabama late Friday and early Saturday, dumping 3-to-5 inches of rain in already swollen creeks and rivers.

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On the Alabama River, from 30-to-45 feet, pastureland below Selma becomes flooded. The predicted crests do not come close to historical crests. Many folks remember when the Alabama reached 57.45 feet on March 21, 1990. The river hit the same high-water mark on April 8, 1986. The highest the Alabama has reached in recent memory, according to the National Weather Service in Birmingham, if 58.35 feet on March 1, 1961.

The Cahaba River at Marion Junction also is on the rise. It is predicted to crest at 31.5 feet today. Flood stage is 36 feet, according to Abbott. Cattlemen should have already removed their livestock from around Oakmulgee Creek. Overflow of pasturelands began when the river hit 20 feet. More pastureland flooding is expected. The highest the Cahaba has been at this point in recent memory is 43 feet. Other historical crests include 42.95 feet on Aug. 16, 1939 and 41.80 feet on March 31, 1951.

If any systems or flood warnings or advisories are issued, be sure to go to www.selmatimesjournal.com for updates or live blogging during severe weather events.