Recovery efforts underway after severe weather

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

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Recovery efforts are in full swing in Butler County after a line of severe thunderstorms wreaked havoc Friday, leaving a trail of destruction and power outages in their wake. The storms, which struck around 2 a.m. on May 10, caused extensive damage in the area, particularly in Georgiana.

While power has been fully restored as of Sunday, May 12, recovery efforts are ongoing, with the next phase focusing on the town of Georgiana. 

Rosie Till, Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director for Butler County expressed her gratitude for the combined efforts from various agencies, community volunteers, and utility companies that have been instrumental in the swift recovery process.

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“I’m thankful for the wonderful dispatchers we have here who answer the call to assist our citizens.”

Till provided initial reports on the damage Friday morning.

“We have extensive damage, especially in Georgiana and are expecting a possible outage in that area of up to 48 hours,” Till stated, noting that there were, at that time, 1,600 Pioneer Electric customers and 1,900 Alabama customers without power.

Recovery efforts began promptly on Friday morning, with a briefing held in the office of Georgiana Mayor Frank Betterton to plan the initial phase of recovery for the city. The briefing included various community stakeholders such as volunteer fire members, Butler County Commissioner Darrell Sanders, Butler County Sheriff Danny Bond and representatives from Alabama Power and Pioneer Electric. Additionally, Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon offered assistance with recovery efforts.

Betterton expressed gratitude for the community’s immediate response.

“We have a great community of people who care about this town and the people in it.” Betterton said. “There were no injuries from this storm, and that is the biggest blessing of all.”

Alabama Power Company and Pioneer Electric crews, along with others from their sister companies, worked tirelessly throughout the affected areas to repair multiple areas of severe damage. Volunteer teams from the First United Methodist Disaster Response team and the Church of the Highlands Disaster Team also lent a helping hand, assisting citizens with cleaning up their lawns and city streets.

Members of several volunteer fire departments throughout the county responded to multiple calls as well as members of the Butler County Road Department, the Alabama Department of Transportation, and Deputies with Butler County Sheriff’s Office. Greenville Police Chief Justin Lovvorn advised

The City of Greenville had multiple trees down over roadways and power lines after the storms came through around 2:30 a.m. The street department and utility crews were able to get the majority of roadways back open within 2 to 3 hours. Pineapple Highway and South Conecuh Street remained blocked for a few more hours.

“We continue to pray for those in the Georgiana area and offer our support where the storm had an even greater impact,” Lovvorn said.

As recovery continues, officials remain vigilant, with the National Weather Service of Mobile conducting a survey to determine if the storm had signs of rotation, which is necessary for an official tornado rating if one was produced. Pioneer Electric has restored power to all members capable of safely receiving it.