‘We were lucky’

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2011

For those throughout much of the South, the annual Labor Day holiday was spent indoors as nearly every outdoor activity fell victim to Tropical Storm Lee. Such was also the case in the Selma area, as high winds and heavy rains from the tropical system made a holiday arrival.

But, what was expected to be a troublesome system for those in the Black Belt with as much as 12 inches of rain forecasted, proved to be a beneficial rain maker for an area bordering on drought conditions.

“We were extremely lucky,” Dallas County Emergency Management Agency director Rhonda Abbott said. “With the exception of some gusty winds Monday night, we really didn’t see anything close to what was expected.”

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Only a few area residents experienced problems as power was knocked out by the winds in the Plantersville, Five Points and Orrville areas.

Abbott said her office was activated 5 p.m. Sunday evening and monitored the storms until the office was deactivated at 8 p.m. Monday evening.

“We did have two tornado warnings for a brief period Monday, but other than that, we had very little to worry about,” Abbott said.

She did say her office heard of about five trees falling Monday, mostly caused by the winds and water-logged ground.

Abbott said the river stages are also expected to stay well below flood stage, even though they are expected to “rise some” with the runoff in some areas.

“We also did find out that we had two weather sirens fail during the warnings,” Abbott said. “Those were at Martin Middle School and Lazy Acres. At this point, we are not sure why.”

Abbott said the office tests the weather sirens silently each week and actually sounds them off once each month to make sure they are working.
“We try to remind everyone that these are just part of our warning service,” Abbott said. “Unfortunately, technology does fail sometimes.”
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