Flash floods trapped people in homes and vehicles in north Alabama on Wednesday, as heavy rain in Mississippi caused flash flooding that inundated about 100 homes and 25 businesses and one person died and emergency shelters were opened after heavy rains caused flooding in Tennessee.
Torrents of rain from a cold front moving through Alabama caused water to quickly cover roads and low-lying areas near Birmingham. Video and photos showed homes surrounded by water, submerged mailboxes and motorists trapped in cars and trucks.
A mobile home park was evacuated in Brighton because of rising water, and at least two people were rescued in the city, fire officials said. Water from a swollen creek covered tombstones at Brighton Memorial Gardens, frustrating Glenda Phillips, whose husband is buried in the cemetery.
“Every time it rains hard this section right here floods,” Phillips told WTVM-TV. Wiping her face, she said: “I hurt so bad.”
Flooding also was reported in northeast Alabama, where Albertville Fire and Rescue posted a photo of an SUV submerged on a street, the headlights shining though water.
Flash watches and warnings were in effect across the northern third of the state through Thursday night, and the National Weather Service said as much as 3 inches (8 centimeters) of rain already had fallen in central Alabama.
Rainfall totals from 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) were possible, forecasters said, and some storms could have winds as strong as 40 mph (64 kph).
A wreck on a wet road in Decatur killed two people and injured three others Wednesday morning, but police didn’t immediately say if bad weather was suspected as a factor in the crash.
The forecast said rain was still likely as far south as southern Alabama.
Waves of rain could help improve precipitation deficits that include much of northern Alabama. About 35 percent of the state, including metro Birmingham, is abnormally dry. Some areas, including Huntsville, are in a moderate drought.
In Pearl, Miss., flooding damaged buildings and more than 50 vehicles were damaged, according to Gov. Phil Bryant.
Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey told local news outlets that 30 to 40 deputies helped rescue people.
Pearl police say at least one bridge collapsed and a strip mall’s roof fell in.
National Weather Service meteorologist Thomas Winesett says more than 4.5 inches (11.4 centimeters) of rain were recorded in nearby Richland.
Before dawn Wednesday, heavy rain also fell in northeast Mississippi. National Weather Service meteorologist Phil Baker says radar estimates 11.3 inches (28.7 centimeters) of rain near Blue Springs.
Some roads washed out in Union and Pontotoc counties.
In Tennessee, Soddy-Daisy Police Capt. Jeff Gann told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that one death was believed to be a drowning related to flooding on Wednesday. Soddy-Daisy is located about 17 miles (27 kilometers) north of Chattanooga.
Soddy-Daisy’s police department warned residents on its Facebook page about swift water moving along roads and ditches.
Flooding led to school closings in Hamilton County. The Red Cross has opened two shelters in the area.
Officials said multiple homes in Soddy-Daisy were flooded and officials were evacuating residents from houses. WTVC-TV reports that Hamilton County deputies rescued an 11-year-old boy from a drainage culvert.
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