Town streets quiet during storm recovery
Published 3:46 pm Thursday, June 15, 2023
Streets in towns across Lowndes, Butler, and Crenshaw counties were quiet early Thursday afternoon. Some residents remained without power, others were blocked in by flooded roads and debris, and a few heard the hum of generators as crews worked restoring power and removing debris left by Wednesday and Thursday thunderstorms.
At 3 p.m. Thursday, 27,056 Alabamians remained without power. Pioneer Electric Cooperative reported 6,600 members still without power at noon.
“We’re finding broken poles and cross arms and lots of downed trees,” utility representatives posted on social media. “Damage is widespread and in hard-to-reach areas, so bear with us as we work as quickly as is safely possible.”
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Around 9 p.m. Alabama Power reported 3,800 customers still without service in central Alabama as a result of recent severe weather. Rough 1,800 Lowndes County customers and 650 in Butler County awaited service restoration
“In the past 24 hours, electricity has been restored to more than 34,000 customers,” said Michael Jordan with Alabama Power. “Several waves of severe weather throughout the day also resulted in new outages. More than 900 personnel are working in hardest hit areas to restore service as safely and quickly as possible.”
Some Lowndes County residents said the Town of Hayneville community felt like a ghost town while Lowndes County Sheriff’s deputies closed the town square during debris removal so utility crews could restore power. County offices, schools, and businesses remained closed throughout the day, but private business owners counted themselves safe and power was restored around 2 p.m.
More than two thirds of the 5,114 Lowndes County outages had been restored by then, leaving only 1,838, roughly customers still without power.
“Recovery is a slow process,” said Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency Director Rodney Rudolph. “It’s taking longer than we thought to get power restored. Roadways are beginning to open, but the Highway Department is still out [working.] They are going all over the county.
Rudolph noted debris remained alongside roads.
“Crews may cut trees blocking roads, but there is still debris on the right of way,” Rudolph said.
In Butler County, Emergency Management Agency Director Rosie Till said communities were still monitoring the situation, but no injuries had been reported.
“There are no reports of injuries,” Till said. “Radar is beginning to clear up slightly but there is still a way to go for monitoring purposes. We have not received the ‘all clear’ from [the U.S. National Weather Service in] Mobile.”
The Butler County Sheriff’s Office updated residents through alerts from its mobile app throughout Thursday. At 3 p.m., another tornado watch had been issued for Butler and Crenshaw Counties.
Nearly 37% of Butler County residents remained without power Thursday afternoon. Greenville’s downtown streets were quiet as thunderstorms continued into the early evening hours.
Crenshaw County Emergency Management Director Elliott Jones said 32% of residents were without electricity during the peak of outages. By 3 p.m., that number had declined to 10.53% and only 1,778 customers remained without power, but many sustained damage during the storm.
“Over 100 locations had damage, between debris, power lines, and falling trees,” Elliott said. “There were no fatalities but there was one weather-related injury caused by a motor vehicle accident.”
Elliot said McLeod Road, right off Alabama Highway 29 in the Vidette area was temporarily closed due to washout from storm-related flooding.
Lowndes County did experience one fatality during the storm.
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.
“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.
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