USA – Floods in Florida and Alabama as Storms Sweep Across South

A storm system has swept across several states in southern USA from Monday 02 January, 2017, causing flooding and storm damage.

The system affected parts of Texas late Sunday 01 January, 2017, before moving eastwards across Louisiana and eventually on to Florida. The storms brought strong winds, thunder and lightning strikes. Over 80,000 people have been left without power throughout the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Four people were killed in a single home when a tornado hit the town of Rehobeth in southeast Alabama. Tornadoes were also reported in Mendenhall, Mississippi, and Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Flooding

The storms also brought heavy rain and some areas recorded as much as 8 inches (203 mm) on 02 January. This comes after what was already a rainy weekend for many parts of the south.

Severe flooding has been reported in Alabama and Florida, where at least one person has died as a result. Some road closures have been reported due to flooding in northwest Florida and southern Alabama. Flood warnings have since been issued in Georgia as the system moves eastwards.

Florida

One man drowned in the flood water in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. The body of the victim was found in floodwater outside his trailer home near the Shoal River on Monday, 02 January.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office said “William Patrick Corley, 70, was found outside his home on W T Hulion Road after Walton County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived to his travel trailer just after noon Monday. Deputies discovered Corley’s car partially submerged and his body floating face down nearby.”

A flood warning is in place for the Shoal River near Mossy Head until further notice. As of early Monday, the river stood at 17.0 feet and is expected to crest at 18.9 feet. Flood stage is 14 feet.

Alabama

Significant flooding was reported in Jackson, Alabama on Monday afternoon. A flash flood emergency was issued by emergency management due to excessive flooding and water rescues in the area.

Jackson Police Department said: “Please we are asking that everyone stay inside, there several roads that have washed out. You may think it is only water and it may not be deep but it is.”

Floods in Jackson, Alabama, 02 January 2017. Photo: Jackson Police Department
Floods in Jackson, Alabama, 02 January 2017. Photo: Jackson Police Department

The Styx River near Elsanor reached 13.3 feet on Monday and is expected to rise further, to 14.7 feet. Flood stage is 12 feet.

A flood warning is in place until Tuesday evening for the Murder Creek at Brewton, which is expected to reach 22.7 feet on Tuesday, just above flood stage of 22 feet.

Flood Warnings

The system is expected to move further east and affect parts of Georgia and Florida until at least early Wednesday 04 January, according to the National Weather Service.

The NWS issued a flash flood watch for parts of East Central Georgia, including Burke, Columbia, Lincoln, McDuffie and Richmond.

NWS in Peachtree City has issued a flood warning for the Big Creek near Alpharetta, Georgia.

Rainfall

The Weather Channel reports that an area near Leroy, Alabama recorded 8.60 inches (218.44 mm) of rain in 24 hours on 02 January. The previous day saw 5.95 inches (151.13 mm) fall in New Harmony, Florida.

According to figures from NOAA, Evergreen, Alabama, recorded 6.02 inches (152.9 mm) and Elba, Alabama 5.48 inches (139 mm) on 02 January. For the previous 24 hour period, Biloxi, Mississippi, recorded 5.47 inches (139 mm) and Gulfport, Mississippi 4.80 inches (121.92 mm).

According to WMO, heavy rain has recently fallen in parts of Georgia, including Atlanta. WMO figures for a 24 hour period to 03 January, 2017:

  • Augusta/Bush Field, Georgia – 81 mm
  • Macon/Lewis B.Wilson, Georgia – 103 mm
  • Montgomery/Dannelly, Alabama – 108 mm
  • Jackson/Allen C. Thompson Field, Mississippi – 76 mm
Rainfall levels across southern USA 01 January, 2017. Image: NOAA
Rainfall levels across southern USA 02 January, 2017. Image: NOAA

Flood summary

Last updated: January 3, 2017
Event
USA - Southern States, January 2017
Date
January 2, 2017
Type
Flash flood, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - DeFuniak Springs, FL
B - Mossy Head, FL
C - Jackson, AL
D - Elsanor AL
E - Brewton AL

Magnitude

Rainfall level
218.44 mm in 24 hours
Leroy, Alabama - January 1 to January 2, 2017
Rainfall level
151.13 mm
New Harmony, Florida - December 31, 2016 to January 1, 2017

Damages

Fatalities
1 person
DeFuniak Springs, FL - January 2 to January 2, 2017

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