OBITUARIES: Decatur | Shoals | Huntsville
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Volatile weather yet to come
Storms cause power outages, school delays
By Lucy Berry
The Decatur Daily

Gary Cosby Jr./Decatur Daily
Water rushes over the dam and water wheel at the Masterson Millpond beside Alabama 33 in Lawrence County on Wednesday after heavy rains from thunderstorms swelled the creek.

Though they knocked out power for more than 1,500 homes and businesses, Wednesday morning’s thunderstorms and high winds are forgettable compared to storms the Tennessee Valley has endured in recent years.

And despite a brief respite the next few days, coming weeks promise more volatile weather in Morgan, Limestone and Lawrence counties, according to the National Weather Service.

“It doesn’t look like the patterns are going to become any more calm or quiet because we’re still here in winter and we’re going into spring,” meteorologist Dan Dixon said. “That being a transitional season, we’re going to see lots of fluctuations in the weather.”

Schools reported no weather-related incidents Wednesday, though many in the area started an hour or two late. Superintendents said schools don’t have to make up lost time for such minimal delays.

“We’re always concerned when students miss instructional time,” Lawrence County Schools Assistant Superintendent Johnny Yates said. “When we open late, there is no making up of lost time, but most of our schools vary.

“They don’t miss the first two periods — they adjust the periods so the kids are not missing classes.”

Mandi Phillips of Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Corp. said 235 customers lost power in Town Creek about 7:15 a.m. Wednesday for about 15 minutes.

Joe Wheeler workers also restored power to 209 customers near Oden Ridge, east of Falkville. Phillips said the power went out at 7:45 a.m. and was back on within 10 minutes.

Athens Utilities spokeswoman Amy Golden said stormy weather caused a tree limb to hit a power line at 5 a.m., leaving 596 Athens residents in the dark until crews restored power an hour later.

Lightning struck a cross arm on a utility pole about 10 a.m., downing a power line on U.S. 31 near a water tank in Tanner. Power was restored to 484 Tanner residents shortly after noon.

“There was another small outage in the Ardmore area that affected three customers, but other than that, we feel like we’re very fortunate there were no more outages or damages across north Alabama than there already were,” Golden said.

Falkville Mayor Bob Ramey said he is concerned about high creek levels in east Falkville following Wednesday’s storm.

“We live in such a low area to start with and the rain came so quickly (Wednesday) morning, we got flash flooding and residents’ yards are flooded,” he said. “We’ve had an unusual amount of rain for the past month. The drainage ditches empty into the creeks and the water has nowhere to go.”

Emergency Management Agency officials reported downed trees and damage to power lines, mobile homes and metal roofs early Wednesday in Morgan and Lawrence counties.

Dixon said sunny conditions today, followed by lower temperatures and scattered storms through Saturday, will add to the Valley’s temperamental weather.

“The winter months are very volatile and there can be a lot of change in the weather patterns,” he said. “You can have several different varieties of weather, not only in the course of a week, but in the course of a day.”

Staff writer Ronnie Thomas contributed to this story.

Lucy Berry can be reached at 256-340-2442 or lucy.berry@decaturdaily.com.

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