Storms pummel west Franklin County
Red Bay | Storms raked western Franklin County late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, dropping rainfall that resulted in destructive flooding around Red Bay and spinning off a tornado around Pleasant Site.
The National Weather Service classified the tornado that hit between Pleasant Site and Hwy. 247 as an EF-1. The storm blew down and broke numerous large trees and destroyed some property, including a barn. No one was injured, however.
Red Bay, meanwhile, is trying to patch up damaged roads and sporting facilities after a wild amount of rainfall in a short period of time – on ground that is already saturated – caused major flooding throughout and around town. A retaining wall along a portion of 11th Avenue collapsed due to the rains, pushing rip rap, mud and crossties into the home of Angela Terry. Crews with the Street Department were working at the home on Tuesday morning to clean debris away from the home. The collapse also washed away almost a third of the street in that spot. The road has been closed until repairs can be made.
“We’ve got a lot on our plate right now,” Mayor Charlene Fancher said of the city’s work to repair damage that in some cases had just recently been worked on due to February’s record rain and flooding. “We’re asking for patience from citizens. We’ve had landslide situations since Saturday, and ensuring safe roads is a priority right now.”
Red Bay’s Dixie Youth fields, which were heavily damaged in February, were hit once again Saturday night.
“All the rain Saturday night washed away one of the fields again,” said Parks and Recreation Director Dean Hubbard. “It took three or four inches of topsoil off with it.”
Wind and rain damage were reported in other parts of the county as well. Just outside city limits, residents on County Road 1 have been cut off from direct travel to Red Bay as the intense flooding came so fast and furious that it compromised and blew out one of two massive six-foot culverts in the road at McBrayer Branch. County officials closed that section of roadway until repairs can be made, which means residents south of the branch will be forced into a several-mile detour down County Road 1, into Mississippi and back to County Road 3 to Hwy. 11.
Fancher said she had spoken to Franklin County Emergency Management Agency Director Mary Glass about the damage the city had received, and it is expected the new round of damage will be added to the funding requests submitted as part of the February emergency declarations.
“The last storm was very expensive,” Fancher said. We had damage to head walls, culverts, roads. We had a flood event in February that we’ve been working hard on, and we still haven’t gotten everything fixed. The ground is saturated and Saturday night added a lot more to that.”
Crews from the Red Bay Street Department worked Tuesday morning to clear debris from a home on 11th Avenue, where a retaining wall for the street collapsed, sending rip rap, mud and crossties into the home. The street has suffered significant damage from all the rain received this year.
News photo/Jason Collum
Heavy rains blew out a massive culvert and destroyed the roadway on County Road 1 just a mile south of Red Bay during Saturday night’s storms. News photo/Jason Collum
Pleasant Site resident Neil Willis was among those who suffered damage from an EF-1 tornado that ripped through early Sunday morning. Photo Courtesy of Neil Willis