As the National Weather Service in Huntsville predicts strong thunderstorms and heavy showers to move into the Tennessee Valley again this weekend, Lawrence County Engineer Winston Sitton said his department is prepping for potential flooding as they continue repairing and monitoring roadways that were impacted by heavy rains last week.
A strong storm system could become severe late this week, especially on Saturday, according to NWS. The storms are expected to produce another two to three inches of rainfall, which is likely to induce flooding in prone areas and a rise in river and stream levels.
“Another storm system, bringing more locally heavy rainfall is expected late Sunday into Monday,” NWS said. “This next wet system will exacerbate flooding across the area.”
On Tuesday, Sitton reported no major problems throughout the county as he continued checking Lawrence County roads for excessive damage or drainage issues.
“Last week, there were no major problems, but several minor things that I’m sure were major to the people living in the area,” he said. “We had some roads that were completely underwater temporarily, and several pipes flooded. We’ve worked all week repairing dirt roads and getting everything back in order.”
Sitton said his department is anticipating the flooding that is predicted to occur later this week, especially in northern valleys of the county.
“There will be several roads, like last week, the flooding will be short-lived. They’ll be underwater but clear again by the time we can get to it,” said Sitton. “We’re definitely preparing and gearing up.”
Tennessee Valley Authority reports that December to early May is the major flooding season for the Tennessee Valley.
“Winter storms provide the most rainfall because they are generally more numerous, last longer and cover the largest areas,” TVA states on its website. “Average rainfall ranges from 3.0 to 5.5 inches per month. Runoff, the amount of water that ends up in the river system, is about 23 inches, or 44 percent of average rainfall.”
TVA reported record-setting rainfall in the valley in 2018.
“2018 saw the most rainfall, but 2019 fell closely behind. This year looks like it’s starting out the same way. We have had more flooding in the last two years than we’ve ever seen, but it’s because of the abnormally high rainfall,” Sitton said. “There will most likely be some localized flooding throughout the county, but the North Valley will likely be impacted the most. The north end is mostly flatland; it’s an area that typically floods more.”