EMA ‘waiting, watching’

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Corey Williams | The Brewton Standard Murder Creek was creeping over the banks Tuesday afternoon.

Corey Williams | The Brewton Standard
Murder Creek was creeping over the banks Tuesday afternoon.

5 inches of rain predicted

Some minor flooding could occur as a line of thunderstorms could dump as much as five inches of rain on Escambia County over the next few days.

National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook forecast for most of south Alabama, including Escambia County. The thunderstorms that first appeared Monday evening are expected to continue through tonight, bringing with them damaging winds and the possibility of tornadoes.

“We’re watching and waiting,” said county emergency management agency director David Adams. “Really, that’s all we can do at this point. We are monitoring data from the National Weather Service as it comes in.”

Adams said flood warnings have been issued for Big Escambia Creek at Flomaton and Escambia River near Century, Fla. Flood stage for Big Escambia Creek is 14 feet, he said.

“The water way is forecasted to rise above flood stage by early Friday morning and continue to rise to 14.6 feet by that afternoon,” he said. “At that point, some homes north of Ala. Hwy. 31 may become affected by flood water as levels continue to rise.”

Additionally, the NWS is predicting the following river and creek totals:

• Murder Creek at 21.3 feet today. Minor flooding occurs at 22 feet.

• Escambia River near Flomaton at 19.5 on Dec. 25.

• Conecuh River will crest at 24.1 feet on Dec. 27.

Adams said he hasn’t received word from Powersouth on if or when floodgates will be opened in Covington County.

“People in Brewton have a misconception that when (Powersouth) opens the gate, that’s what floods Brewton,” he said. “That’s not accurate. The fact that those gates hold back quite a bit of the water, and when it is released, it is in a controlled fashion that is in our favor.

“If they didn’t (hold the water), we would get that water when Mother Nature delivers it, and that would be very bad for us,” he said.

Adams said statements will be issued if weather conditions deteriorate.

Many will remember December 2009 when areas of Brewton were flooded, Adams said.

“As of noon on Tuesday, Murder Creek was sitting at 17.05 feet, which is action level by the way,” he said. “They are predicting a crest at mid-afternoon (today) at 21.3, slightly less than flood stage.

“If it stays under 22 feet, we’ll be OK,” he said. “Ann Street will be flooded, but that is an inconvenience – not something that affects homes and businesses.

“The NWS does a great job of incorporating predicted rain fall, so I feel good about the report.”