October 25, 2021
Posted: October 8, 2021 10:25 am
At least four deaths have been blamed on the heavy rainfall that has inundated Alabama over the last few days. The persistent rain has led to widespread flooding all throughout the southeastern US, adding more moisture to an area that has been water-logged for weeks.
The Shelby County coroner’s office confirmed two fatalities on Thursday afternoon after the rising floodwaters carried away a vehicle about 15 miles south of Birmingham. The incident happened on Wednesday, taking the lives of two 23-year-olds.
Additionally, the coroner in Marshall County also confirmed two deaths at the hands of flash flooding in the city of Arab, located approximately 60 miles northeast of Birmingham. While the body of a four-year-old girl was recovered late Wednesday, the 18-year-old female victim was not found until about 7 am Thursday morning.
Birmingham has been the epicenter of the recent rain in the region. The city has recorded over an inch of precipitation every day since October 3. The local National Weather Service (NWS) had to issue a flash flood emergency for Birmingham and Pelham, Alabama, late Wednesday and into Thursday morning due to the rapidly rising waters.
According to the Pelham Fire Department, over 280 calls were fielded from people needing to be rescued from their flooded homes. There were an additional 20 vehicle rescues as well. Reports came flooding in regarding downed trees and power lines, impassable roads, and structural damage. Authorities say that it will take some time to determine the full scope of the damage.
In addition to the destruction in Pelham and Birmingham, the small Alabama towns of Brewton and East Brewton also reported dangerous flooding and damage to many businesses in the region.
Although Birmingham only averages 3.34 inches of rain throughout the entire month of October, it recorded 2.76 inches on Wednesday alone. This brought the monthly total to 7.6 inches in just the first week of October.
Alabama is not the only state experiencing heavy rain this week. Panama City Beach, Florida, has recorded over a foot of rain in the time frame between Monday and Thursday morning. Pensacola, Florida, has measured 11.23 inches of rain since the beginning of October. This is more than twice what the city generally sees over the course of the entire month.
Going back over the last 30 days, Pensacola has recorded 21.80 inches of rain. This translates to the wettest 30-day period ever during this time.
Other cities throughout the Southeast that have seen record amounts of rainfall in the last 30 days include Pascagoula, Mississippi, with 12.51 inches, and Columbus, Georgia, with 13.22 inches.
Forecasters are expecting that these bands of heavy rain will move to the east in the coming days. However, a new threat coming from the western Atlantic may drive in more moisture over the weekend to the Southeast coast. Tropical weather watchers are closely monitoring this area of disorganized rain and thunderstorms to potentially move into the region.
While the system may bring some rain to the region, the threat of severe weather is unlikely due to a host of environmental factors standing in its way. Strong vertical wind shear will likely serve to break up the system as it gets closer to land.
Although further intensification for this low is not predicted, forecasters are warning of a high chance of rough surf conditions up and down the East Coast through Sunday.
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