OBITUARIES: Decatur | Shoals | Huntsville
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Shoals waters rise
Flood warning issued; inch of snow may fall
By Bernie Delinski -
Matt McKean/TimesDaily
A motorist bypasses the road closed sign on Sixth Street near Leighton and drives through water running over the road.

Forecasters said floodwaters will rise and a bit of snow could fall locally as the string of consecutive days with measurable precipitation is expected to reach nine today.

“Winter in the Tennessee Valley,” Colbert County Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Melton lamented Wednesday afternoon.

The Shoals is not under a winter weather advisory, but a flood warning was issued Wednesday as the Tennessee River exceeded flood stage at Florence.

Meanwhile, the weather service bumped snow chances for the Shoals up to 70 percent, with a dusting to an inch of accumulation possible.

There is good news: The National Weather Service office in Huntsville expects this to be the last of the string of rainy days. There is no chance of precipitation throughout the office’s long-term forecast, which runs through Wednesday.

Melton said weather service meteorologists told Shoals officials snow is expected to start anywhere from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. today.

“They have Lauderdale, Colbert and Franklin counties under the lowest amount of snow, which is a dusting, which is why we’re not included in the winter storm watch,” said Mike Melton, director of the Colbert Emergency Management Agency. “Our temperatures will probably be a little bit too warm for accumulations.”

Today’s high is expected to be around 38 to 40 degrees, with a low in the mid-20s, said Dan Dixon, meteorologist for the weather service office in Huntsville.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you got possibly a dusting up to an inch, but it doesn’t look like anything greater than an inch,” Dixon said.

The snow is expected to end at some point this afternoon.

Central and eastern Alabama could receive more snowfall, with 1 to 3 inches forecast for Lawrence County.

“We do have a winter storm watch in effect for points off to your east,” Dixon said.

Lauderdale EMA Director George Grabryan said there is concern black ice could form on roads tonight into Friday morning as the temperature dips below freezing.

The Tennessee River surpassed the 18-foot flood stage at McFarland Park on Wednesday, a day after officials closed and evacuated the park.

The river is expected to crest at 20.7 feet Friday, Grabryan said. That likely will be enough to close the underpass below O’Neal Bridge.

Melton said officials closed King Bridge in eastern Colbert County near the Lawrence County line.

“They’re saying Town Creek is getting close to getting out of its banks,” Melton said. “We may start having problems there. Those are the problem areas where you see streams backing up when the river reaches flood stage.”

With the spillways open at Wilson Dam and water rising, the rushing river flow forced a pier to break loose from the boat dock at Riverfront Park in Sheffield. The waters were so swift the Alabama Marine Police could not retrieve the pier before it became lost somewhere downstream.

The Shoals experienced 7 inches of rain in January as of Wednesday evening. The normal for this point on the month is 2.34 inches. Northwest Alabama hasn’t gone a day without measurable precipitation since Jan. 8.

Bernie Delinski can be reached at 256-740-5739 or

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