Flooding Woes: Decatur, Ala., Declares Emergency

With north Alabama receiving roughly 9 inches of rain since Tuesday, the city followed the lead of Gov. Kay Ivey, who issued a state of emergency on Saturday for 19 north Alabama counties due to flooding issues.

by Bayne Hughes, The Decatur Daily, Ala. / February 25, 2019

(TNS) — Widespread flooding on Sunday led Morgan and Limestone county schools to cancel today's classes, Lawrence schools to delay classes two hours, and the Decatur City Council to declare a state of emergency.

With north Alabama receiving roughly 9 inches of rain since Tuesday, the city followed the lead of Gov. Kay Ivey, who issued a state of emergency on Saturday for 19 north Alabama counties due to flooding issues. Counties included in the resolution are Morgan, Limestone, Lawrence, Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Walker and Winston.

Limestone County Schools and Morgan County Schools called off school for today while Lawrence County Schools delayed the start of the school day by two hours.

While the National Weather Service is not predicting rain in the Decatur area for the coming days, local, state and federal officials are concerned that the Tennessee River could continue to rise because of flooding problems upstream. This could create more problems in north Alabama.

The Decatur council voted 4-0 in a special called meeting Sunday to approve a state-of-emergency resolution. Councilman Billy Jackson was absent.

City Attorney Herman Marks said Ivey’s declaration allows Decatur to declare its own emergency.

“It helps us address potential problems and prevent injuries and damage to property,” Marks said.

Heavy flooding was evident Sunday at various parts of the city, including Point Mallard Park. Soccer fields were flooded, and recreational vehicles had been moved from flooded portions of the campground to dry land.

Morgan County Emergency Management Agency Director Eddie Hicks said declaring a state of emergency is the first step in the process for the city possibly getting reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for expenses incurred because of the flooding.

“They will have to prove all of the damages and expenses from the flooding,” Hicks said.

Hicks said the governor will have to show there was $7 million in damages in the counties and cities that are part of her state of emergency for them to receive FEMA disaster reimbursements.

— bayne.hughes@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2432. Twitter @DD_BayneHughes.

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©2019 The Decatur Daily (Decatur, Ala.)

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