Heavy rains during Easter Sunday’s severe weather resulted in flooding in DeKalb County Monday. Some areas also reported damage and power outages from heavy winds.
DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency Director Anthony Clifton said the flooding Monday resulted in the temporary closure of about 50 roadways around the county, including all valley roads near Wills Creek. Flooding occurred in Fort Payne, Rainsville, Crossville, Sylvania, Valley Head, Hammondville, Mentone, Pine Ridge, Dog Town and Collbran.
Clifton said first responders were busy Monday morning helping anyone trapped by the high waters, and officials were also mitigating the danger posed by floating propane and diesel tanks.
The Kilpatrick Community along Alabama Highway 168 had tornado damage from a twister that caused significant damage in Boaz.
“It’s a mess. They tell me it looks like a war zone,” Clifton said Monday morning. A Shiloh store previously damaged by storms in 2011 and 2013 was once again struck, he said.
The Fischer community and Collinsville lost electricity. A structure next to the Collinsville Fire Department lost its roof due to the high winds, Clifton said.
Collinsville 911 Dispatcher Marilyn Martin said some businesses were flooded and utility workers were busy repairing electrical lines brought down by fallen trees and water lines affected by the high waters. She said collapsed boulders that fell onto Alabama Highway 68 were cleared.
Rain gauges indicated flooding was occurring on local creeks and streams from three to six inches of rain that fell Sunday evening. The National Weather Service in Huntsville reported the heaviest rainfall measured near Sylvania at 6.73 inches. Widespread, there were three- to four-inches of rainfall.
NWS issued a flood warning at 4 a.m. Monday covering DeKalb, Jackson, Marshall, Madison, Lauderdale, Limestone, Colbert, Cullman, Franklin, Morgan and Lawrence counties. Flooded locations included Fort Payne, Huntsville, Decatur, Madison, Florence, Athens, Albertville, Cullman, Scottsboro and Hartselle.
There were more than 40 reports of tornadoes as the storms that began on Easter Sunday tore a deadly and destructive path from Texas and Arkansas, across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia and into the Carolinas and Tennessee. More than 1.2 million homes and businesses lost power across the south, with 22 confirmed deaths, NWS reported. At least 11 people were killed in Mississippi. Five people were killed when storms tore through two mobile home parks in Murray County near the Georgia-Tennessee border, according to the Daily Citizen-News in Dalton, Ga.
In Fort Payne, a number of buildings were flooded, including the DeKalb Tourism Information Center and DeKalb County Economic Development Authority, TitleMax, and the Mapco gas station. It was unclear Monday morning how many structures had flooded before waters started to recede. Nanda Patel, owner of the Holiday Inn Express, said her hotel escaped the flooding and was sheltering about 35 people from the flooded area.
The bridge on Houston Loop Road shifted and was closed while 67th Street NW beside the Fort Payne City Lake was also closed, according to a dispatcher from the Fort Payne e911 center. The Dogtown Volunteer Fire Department said on its Facebook Page that multiple roads were washed out and the DeKalb County Road Department put up barriers to block them.
Fort Payne Improvement Authority General Manager Mike Shirey said the utility experienced several outages Sunday evening and crews were dispatched to make repairs until about 3 a.m. Monday morning. Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative General Manager Mark Malone said about 5,000 electric meters lost power, or roughly 16 percent of customers. He expected all to have electricity restored by Monday evening.
In Valley Head, the volunteer fire department worked to get Highway 117 reopened after a mudslide and multiple fallen trees. Bridges on County Road 1986 and the 1700 block of County Road 432 in Fyffe washed out. County Road 578-Church Street was deemed passable but had a partial collapse of the road shoulder. County Road 33 close to the County Road 843 intersection rapidly deteriorated. County Road 44 in Fyffe was closed after a section of the road collapsed, according to the Fyffe Volunteer Fire Department.
County Road 89 at DeSoto State Park was blocked by water, while portions of Alabama Highway 176 near Little River Canyon also had storm damage from straight-line winds. Sections of Highway 11 in Fort Payne were closed. Damage was also reported on County Road 155 in the Flat Rock community.
The National Weather Service in Huntsville predicts little-to-no chance for measurable rainfall through this Friday.
The Times-Journal will follow up with more details about the extent of the damage in Thursday’s edition.