Wiregrass dodges weather bullet after flash flood scares, storms

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

Dothan, AL  (WSFA) -  Folks in the Wiregrass woke up Wednesday morning to tornado warnings, heavy rains, and dark skies—an ominous reminder of the March 28th flash floods.

Even though the outcome didn't come close to comparison, local residents spent the day cleaning up the remnants of the storm.

Gladys Brown has an uprooted tree in her front yard to show for the high winds.

She said, "When I went to the door and looked, I said... 'Oh my god'.  It scared me to death."

But it was the heavy rains, not the wind, that caused problems for store owner Molly Dulac.

Dulac said, "We had a mess to clean up this morning."

After hearing the tornado sirens early Wednesday morning, she said she knew her store was in trouble.

She rushed there, and found exactly what she was hoping she wouldn't find—a half-inch of water inside.

Dulac said, "We scooped it up with 5 gallon buckets.  We had quite a bit."

But for Houston County EMA workers, the day started much earlier.

Director of the Houston County EMA Clark Matthews said, "It's been a long night.  We opened up the EOC about 11:30 [Tuesday] night."

After morning tornado warnings and 50 mile per hour wind gusts, they were prepared for the worst.

In the end, Matthews said the damage was "nothing significant."

Even though the county only saw minor damage like down trees and power lines, officials say the heavy rains were a good chance to practice some of the procedures put in place since March's flash flooding.

Matthews said, "Now, we have a database of the low lying areas that are prone to floods.  So early on, we got in those areas and notified them that it could be an issue."

He said residents with memories of those floods fresh in their minds were proactive, not taking any chances with their homes and businesses.

And for Dulac, she says she is thankful.

"As long as my roof is still on, and the tornado didn't touch down, we can clean up a little water."

Thankful her business and the area dodged this weather bullet.

EMA officials say they gave out nearly 500 sand bags, and so far, all the ditches and drains appear to have worked fine during the rains.

Houston County received roughly 3 inches of rain total.

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