Tor­ren­tial rains leave ris­ing rivers, downed trees in much of South

Miss., Ala. and Ky. may face more bad weather next week

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - DESK WEATHER -

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Days of tor­ren­tial rain in much of the South left res­i­dents to deal with ris­ing rivers, fall­ing trees, weak­ened dams and mud­slides Thurs­day as storms fi­nally sub­sided.

An Alabama town asked res­i­dents to use less wa­ter af­ter a pump­ing sta­tion flooded, forc­ing of­fi­cials to shut down schools, and mul­ti­ple ve­hi­cles plowed into trees that fell across a high­way in Mis­sis­sippi. But with rivers and creeks out of their banks across Alabama and Mis­sis­sippi, fore­cast­ers said the re­gion should dry out some be­fore rains re­turn next week.

Schools in Hart­selle, Ala., were closed for the day be­cause wa­ter from a ris­ing creek in north Alabama flooded a pump­ing sta­tion, the Mor­gan County Sher­iff’s Of­fice said on Facebook. Util­ity of­fi­cials in the town of about 14,000 peo­ple asked res­i­dents to con­serve wa­ter but lifted the re­quest once the prob­lem was fixed.

Along the Mis­sis­sippi River in Vick­burg, Miss., part of the park­ing lot at WaterView Casino and Ho­tel was cov­ered with soil and grass af­ter a soggy hill­side col­lapsed, but no one was hurt and the gam­bling hall re­mained open.

Near Vicks­burg, one per­son was taken to a hos­pi­tal af­ter seven 18-wheel­ers and a mini­van col­lided with two trees that fell across In­ter­state 20 overnight, news out­lets re­ported.

Of­fi­cials in Starkville, Miss., were wor­ried that around-the-clock pump­ing wasn’t do­ing enough to re­lieve pres­sure on the rainswolle­n Ok­tibbeha County Lake, where part of the dam col­lapsed in a mud­slide last month. Wa­ter in the reser­voir was ris­ing, and tarps and sand­bags used to sta­bi­lize the dam had moved be­cause of ero­sion, re­quir­ing re­pairs, of­fi­cials said.

Ken­tucky Gov. Andy Bes­hear warned of ad­di­tional rains for the south­east­ern part of the state af­ter flood­ing last week that of­fi­cials said was the worst since the late 1970s. There were about 100 search and res­cue op­er­a­tions in 10 coun­ties dur­ing the flood­ing, Bes­hear said.

“More rain is com­ing,” Bes­hear said.

Else­where, Alabama trans­porta­tion of­fi­cials closed a ma­jor high­way lead­ing to Huntsville be­cause of a crack that de­vel­oped in the road af­ter days of heavy rain. Crews were re­pair­ing U.S. 231 near Lacey’s Springs, forc­ing de­tours.

Stu­dents stayed home from school Thurs­day and sev­eral busi­nesses were closed in parts of the up­per Mid­west as arc­tic air pushed wind chill read­ings to dan­ger­ous lows.

A wind chill warn­ing was in ef­fect for north­east­ern North Dakota and north­ern Min­nesota, with wind chill read­ings plung­ing to more than 40 be­low zero in some ar­eas. The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice urged peo­ple to limit time out­doors and bun­dle up, as ex­posed skin could be sub­ject to frost­bite in as lit­tle as 10 min­utes.

It’s pos­si­ble that at least one death could be at­trib­uted to the cold. Po­lice in Omaha, Neb., said they found the body of Robert Frey­muller, 80, early Thurs­day in a street not far from the as­sisted-liv­ing cen­ter where he lived. His death is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, but po­lice said he was not dressed for the weather; the wind chill was mi­nus 26 de­grees.

In Min­nesota, the cold­est wind chill read­ing was in Fosston, in the north­west­ern part of the state, at 48 de­grees be­low.


Crews work to re­place drainage pipes at the Ok­tibbeha County Lake dam in Starkville, Miss., as heavy rains caused wa­ter lev­els to rise. Tarps and sand­bags used to sta­bi­lize the dam also re­quired re­pairs be­cause of ero­sion.

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