Road woes hit home
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, December 30, 2015
With nearly two dozen roads closed throughout Pike County, business owners like Al Rotton at Banks Buy-Rite are feeling the pinch.
“Highways 29 and 93 have been rerouted, and it’s definitely affected the business,” Rotton said on Tuesday. “But we know that there are people working hard to get those roads back open, and we are very grateful for them.”
More than 20 roads remained closed Tuesday after nearly 15 inches of rain fell throughout Pike County during the past week. Gov. Robert Bentley has declared a state of emergency in Alabama, and local emergency management officials are working to assess the extent of local damage and what funds might be available for repairs and recovery.
County road crews were hard at work on Tuesday, trying to repair and reopen the roads.
“We’ve worked on roughly 15 to 20 roads in the past week,” said Dwight Wheeler with the Pike County Road Department. “It takes just about all day to get just one of these roads cleared, and it gets time-consuming having to go from job to job.”
Wheeler was working on County Road 3328 in Brundidge, where he was filling sinkholes
Brenda Wilson, a Brundidge resident who lives just off of County Road 3328, said that the recent roadwork has forced her to take detours to leave her street. It’s a plight many residents in the county are facing.
“The roads have only been like this one other time since I’ve been here, which is when the tornadoes came through about 10 years ago,” she said. “With some of the roads being damaged and barricades being up, I’m not going to take any chances by getting close to it when I leave the house.”
Even as crews are working to reopen roads, the county is bracing for more rain today.
Mark Linharnes, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Birmingham, said while the worst is over, rains are not quite over yet.
Linharnes said that there has been a “trough” in the jet stream over the western part of the country, and a “ridge” in the east and southeastern part of the country. Linharnes explained that this keeps the cold weather in the West, while simultaneously keeping the warm weather in the East.
“This is why we’ve been having unseasonably warm weather for the majority of the eastern half of the United States,” he said. “While on the other hand, the West has been experiencing colder weather than usual, along with a lot of snow. It’s a pattern that has kept the warm weather on us.”
Along with that warm weather have come the unseasonably heavy rainfalls. Since Wednesday, Dec. 23, nearly 14 inches of rain was dumped on Pike County.
For this week, the National Weather Service in Birmingham predicts at least a 40 percent chance of rain every day until Friday, with the skies clearing up by Saturday. The forecast also expects a high of 52 degrees Fahrenheit on New Year’s Day.
He said that there’s hope for some colder temperatures this week, but not for long. Linehares predicts that temperatures will drop this week, as well as two to three inches of rain on Wednesday. He also expects that the “trough” will return by this weekend, bringing the potential for a return of warmer weather.