Fay drenches Butler County

Published 2:12 pm Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Remnants of Tropical Storm Fay hung like an albatross around the neck of south Alabama on Tuesday, threatening Butler County with even more potential thundershowers after drenching the area with rain over the weekend.

But as of noon Tuesday, there had been very little to report as far as rain goes. Ominous dark clouds in the morning had given away to some sunshine in the afternoon, although forecasters expect a few scattered thundershowers to pop up in and around southern parts of the state on Wednesday.

Butler County EMA Director Bob Luman said he believed Butler County had escaped the storm relatively unscathed.

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“There were a few trees, some power lines down, but no roads closed,” said Luman. “I think we’re pretty much out of it.”

Fay arrived on Saturday morning, bringing heavy rain that soaked the area throughout the day. Gov. Bob Riley declared an official state of emergency, deploying the National Guard in Baldwin, Mobile, Geneva, Houston and Mobile counties in case its services were needed.

Wind blew small sticks, limbs and other debris into the streets of Greenville and some residents lost power in the downtown area, but it was restored later that afternoon.

Angela Green, Communications Specialist for Pioneer Electric, reported power had been restored 100 percent to the co-op’s customers as of 8:18 p.m. on Monday night. On Saturday, Fay had left some 5,000 residents without power among the four counties serviced by Pioneer Electric.

“Our hardest hit areas were in Lowndes, southeast Dallas and north central Wilcox counties,” said Green.

Greenville Police Chief Lonzo Ingram said damage was relatively light in the Camellia City.

“Hardly none at all,” he said. “We did have a tree fall on Hickory St., but that was it.”

There was one causality on Saturday: Fay’s showers and wind caused the cancellation of the Butler County Junior Miss pageant, which was instead held on Monday night.

The rain gave way to a rather calm day on Sunday, but Monday morning brought new storms and an increased threat of tornadoes as Fay inched away from central Alabama.

The last tornado warning in Butler County was finally lifted at 6:15 p.m. on Monday night.

The Alabama EMA confirmed one death in the state because of Tropical Storm Fay. An unidentified 33-year-old Mobile man drowned in Lake Martin. According to family members the victim was in the water when rough wind and water took him under and he did not re-surface. The victim’s body was recovered on Sunday morning.

The Alabama fatality brings Fay’s death toll to 13 in the United States, including 11 people in Florida and one person in Georgia. Fay struck Florida a record four times, according to meteorologists.

Now, all eyes turn towards the Caribbean where Hurricane Gustav – which pummeled the island nation of Haiti on Tuesday – is expected to cross over Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico and strengthen.