Storms bring floods back to Black Belt area

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SELMA — Runoff from recent rainfalls have forced the county to close two roads, but they should reopen by Wednesday, said Larry Nickels, Dallas County commissioner for District 4.

One-to-2 feet of water collected on County Road 293 and County Road 326 collected at least 6 inches last week.

“The reason I decided to close it was for the safety of the general public,” Nickels said. “If you’re going fast you could hit that water and go off the road.”

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Levels of water in the Alabama River reached 45.99 feet Monday at 3 a.m., which is categorized as a flood stage, but the level dropped to 43.09 feet by noon.

Projected water levels should stand at 38.1 feet at 7 a.m. today and back to a normal flow of about 30 feet on Saturday.

Flood stage is 45 feet; moderate floods stage is 48 feet and major flood stage is 52 feet, according to the National Weather Service in Birmingham.

“The water is going to recede quickly,” said Rhonda Abbott, interim director for the Dallas County Emergency Management Agency.

None of the water levels have resulted in evacuations or extensive road closings.

“Everything was good,” Abbott said. “If it had gotten higher, we would have had to put plans in place at that point.”

Gary Goggins, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Birmingham said the biggest impact is when the Alabama Rivers gets to 45 feet and some of the lower roads begin flooding.

About 2-to-3 inches of rain fell March 9-11 in the Selma area, but in Shelby County, about 96 miles northeast, received more than 8 inches of rain in two days.

The runoff flowed into the Cahaba River, then into the Alabama River and rolled down to the Selma area.

“that’s what began most of the flooding,” Goggins said. “Most of that rainfall immediately ran off into the rivers.”