Heavy rain in Cleburne County results in some closed roads
by Laura Camper
lcamper@annistonstar.com
May 19, 2013 | 1553 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The storms that blew through Cleburne County Saturday caused some damage to the area and kept local emergency agencies busy throughout the day.

Heflin Fire Chief Jonathan Adams said the department responded to four storm-related calls including two trees that fell on cars in the Talladega National Forest on U.S. 78. There were no injuries in either car, Adams said.

In addition, the department responded to a tree falling on a house in Owens Street in Heflin. The department could not remove the tree since it was on private property, Adams said. But firefighters called the Cleburne Baptist Association which dispatched a relief team. Adams said he returned to the house after 5 p.m. and the tree had been removed and there was a tarp on the roof.

Adams said the most interesting call the department received was an underground gas line that had caught on fire.

“It looked like the ground was on fire,” Adams said. “We think it was a lightning strike.”

The lightning may have struck a tree, traveled along the roots and melted the gas line. The firefighters had to let the fire burn and stay on-site until Alabama Gas Company workers arrived to fix the line.

If they put the fire out, Adams said, the line could explode if it reignited somehow.

As of 5:30 p.m., there were still several road closures throughout the county, said Crystal Cavender, 911-duty officer.

County roads 832, 203, 36 and 2 were closed for flooding and would be reopened as soon as the water receded, she said. County Road 24 was also closed at the intersections with County roads 13 and 8 and would reopen after the water receded.

County Road 3 would be closed until further notice, Cavender said.

“There are two places on County Road 3 that are completely washed away,” she said.

County Engineer Shannon Robbins was unable to give an estimate on when they could be reopened, but said the county road department would start work on them Monday, Cavender added.

National Weather Service meteorologist Aaron Gleason said the area around along the Interstate 20 corridor in Cleburne County reported receiving 7.23 inches of rain in the 24-hour period. The area is still under a flash flood watch until today at 4 p.m. because of the possibility of more rain overnight.

“If we get any more rain, even an inch, it could cause flooding because the ground is so saturated,” Gleason said.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-463-2872. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.
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