County braces for storms
Published 8:45 pm Monday, April 28, 2014
Forecasts called for a rough start and a rough finish to Tuesday as two waves of a storm that claimed at least 16 lives were set to roll across Alabama.
The first wave was set to hit the area between midnight and 6 a.m. The National Weather Service issued a flood warning early Monday and warned of a moderate risk of tornadoes, damaging winds and hail the size of softballs.
Initial reports had the storm front passing just above Pike County, but Emergency Management Director Jeanna Barnes warned county officials not to take stock in the forecasted path.
“It’s going to be shifting. We may not be in its path now, but it could very well move our way and that threat would move with it,” she said.
Rather than a storm front, the storm has supercells, which means the tornadoes and strong winds could precede the front. Another problem with the storm is it is slow moving.
“That tornado in Arkansas was on the ground for two hours,” Barnes said.
From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the skies are expected to clear and Pike County will experience another warm, sunny day. Barnes said that calm before the storm was a bad thing. It would give the next wave time to build.
With the threat of more hail, tornadoes and strong winds in this evening’s forecast, Pike County Relay for Life postponed tonight’s Survivor Dinner at Park Memorial United Methodist Church to Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.
Pike County Schools suspended all extracurricular activities from 9 p.m. Monday night until further notice.
County commissioners will still meet at 5 p.m. for a work session and 6 p.m. for the scheduled meeting.
County roads were a concern for commissioners. Commissioner Joey Jackson predicted at least five dirt roads in his district would flood due to the storm. He discussed an even greater concern with Chairman Homer Wright and Commissioner Jimmy Barron during the EMA briefing.
During the last rainstorm, a pipe that runs under County Road 1101 in the Shelhorn area had collapsed, causing a 4-foot by 6-foot portion of the roadway to cave in. Crews patched up the road, but Tuesday’s flooding rains could severely damage the road.
Commissioners warned to drivers to take extra precautions in the area two miles west of the intersection of U.S. Highway 231 and Gibson Hill.
Troy City officials warned drivers to take precautions on Elm Street and not to drive around the barricades, even between the two storm fronts.
Officials also asked that people take advantage of the 311 phone system. If residents experience any power outages, they can dial 311 or 566-0177 to report it. Barnes asked that anyone who spots a tornado report it to 911 with a detailed description of the path.