Ongoing severe weather results in one death, roadways blocked, thousands without power
Published 11:54 am Thursday, June 15, 2023
Ongoing severe weather that began Wednesday afternoon resulted in one death, debris across roadways, and thousands still without power in Lowndes, Butler, and Crenshaw Counties and throughout central and south Alabama.
Jay D. Morgan, 57, of Tyler died of fatal injuries in Lowndes County around 5:20 p.m. Wednesday when the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage he was driving collided head on with a 1996 Nissan Maxima driven by Tyler resident, Bryant L. Lawrence. 52.
According to Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Sergeant Jeremy Burkett, a fallen tree in the road may have contributed to the crash.
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“There was a tree in the roadway when the crash occurred,” Burkett said. “Morgan was not using a seatbelt at the time of the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene.”
The crash occurred approximately 11 miles west of the Mosses community near Double Church Road.
Severe weather continued throughout the night and into Thursday morning with counties remaining under a tornado watch until 3 p.m. Around 9:30 a.m., National Weather Service doppler radar indicated a strong thunderstorm four miles south of the Lowndes County Airport, or five miles south of Fort Deposit, moving east at 45 miles per hour (mph) with winds in excess of 40 mph and penny sized hail.
A later weather service alert reported a strong thunderstorm near McKenzie or 16 miles northeast of Evergreen moving east at 35 mph with wind gusts up to 50 mph. Gusty winds were expected to impact Brantley, McKenzie, and Dozier.
At time of publication, the storm was expected to impact communities in Butler, Lowndes, and Crenshaw counties, including Greenville, Luverne, Rutledge, Glenwood, Petrey, and Highland Home.
Utilities worked throughout the night to restore power to the nearly 80,000 Alabama customers without power Wednesday By Thursday morning, 46.67% of Lowndes County, 13.63% of Crenshaw County, and 49.3% of Butler County residents remained without power.
“Currently, 8,119 Pioneer Electric Cooperative members are without power,” said Pioneer Communications Director Christi Scruggs. More than 3,700 of those members reside in Butler County and just over 1,900 were in Lowndes County.
As of 11 a.m., Alabama Power reported 16,500 customers in central Alabama without electricity. Of those customers, 1,900 were in Lowndes County and 1,800 in Butler County.
“Waves of severe weather this morning has slowed restoration progress and resulted in nearly 3,000 new customer outages,” said Michael Jordan with Alabama Power. “Nevertheless, crews continue to work to restore service as safely and quickly as possible. More than 500 additional resources are also now assisting with the restoration effort.”
South Alabama Electric Cooperative worked to restore power to members and by Thursday morning, 1,896 remained without electricity in Crenshaw County.
Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency Director Rodney Rudolph said there were trees down all across Lowndes County Wednesday morning.
“There was one fatality (Morgan), trees down all across the county, and power outages,” Rudolph said. “Those are basically the problems we are dealing with. We haven’t received any reports of structural damage.”
Rosie Till, Butler County Emergency Management Agency director said officials continue monitoring conditions.
“No injuries have been reported thus far,” Till said. “Damages are still pending while the weather threat is ongoing. Our main focus is monitoring radar.”
Officials urged residents to stay off roads while crews worked to remove debris and restore power Thursday morning. Rudolph said reports indicate residents can expect severe weather to continue throughout Thursday and possibly into Friday.
Residents can monitor weather conditions by following the U.S. National Weather Service in Mobile or Birmingham on social media. Citizens can also gain power outage information by visiting www.poweroutage.us.
To report power outages or check restoration progress, contact the local power provider or check outage maps at the following websites.
- Alabama Power – www.outagemap.alabama.com
- Pioneer Electric – www.maps.pioneerelectric.com
- Southeast Alabama Electric Cooperative – www.omsviewer.southaec.com
- Covington Electric Cooperative – www.outage.cov-elect.com
- Dixie Electric Cooperative – www.outagemap.dixie.coop
Central Alabama Electric Cooperative – www.outage.caec.com