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Wednesday rainfall, wind could topple trees

Beginning this afternoon and continuing through Wednesday evening, the Decatur area could receive about 3 inches of rain before freezing temperatures move into the Valley on Thursday, the National Weather Service in Huntsville said Monday.

“It’s going to be wet. We could see some trees fall and block roadways and knock down power lines because of the saturated conditions,” said NWS meteorologist Jennifer Saari about a cold front moving into the area. “There will be breezy conditions with sustained 15 mph winds with gusts up to 25 mph.”

She said the saturated soil conditions from the rain recorded since Dec. 1 will likely lead to fallen trees. She said 2.35 inches fell on Dec. 5 and 1.21 inches were recorded Friday.

Saari suggested homeowners secure their outdoor holiday decorations and remember to ensure the safety of their outdoor pets.

Limestone County Emergency Management Officer Daphne Ellison said the county is preparing for flooded roadways in the usual areas in the county.

“Ponding on the roads is pretty common on these roads,” she said. “If there is water covering the road, the roadway could be washed out or the culvert could be washed away. Don’t cross. Turn around.”

It only takes about 12 inches of water on the road to sweep a car off the roadway, she said.

“Be aware and follow the instruction of any signage placed at low-lying roadways,” she said.

The Tennessee Valley Authority began spilling water at Wheeler Dam on Monday in preparation for Wednesday’s precipitation.

“We’re moving water from the reservoirs that will continue to fluctuate as we try to make space before Wednesday’s anticipated rainfall,” said Darrell Gwinn, manager of TVA’s river forecast center.

He said with the water spilling at the dams, he doesn’t anticipate any flooding at Whitesburg Bridge or Decatur.

He urged the boating and fishing community to be aware of the high water levels and debris collecting in the river from the runoff.

Saari said today’s and Wednesday’s high temperatures will reach into the 60s with lows in the 50s, but Thursday night’s low will dip to the lower 30s. “But it will be dry,” she added.

On Friday, highs are forecast to be in the mid-40s with lows sinking to 28 degrees.

On Saturday and Sunday, the area will see highs in the lower 40s and nighttime lows in the mid-20s.

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