Sunday, March 1, 2009

Terrible Weather This Weekend.

This week we were having some terrible weather. It started to rain on Thursday's evening and throughout the whole night and all Day Friday.It was heavy ,windy and a lot of thunders and lightning.

Homes, churches and other buildings in Salem, Ala., were damaged or destroyed Saturday morning after a tornado packing winds up to 130 mph ripped through the area.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala., reported the tornado touched down south of U.S. 280/431 near Salem at 9:26 a.m. EST. It moved northeast and crossed the highway, cutting a swath about 500 yards wide for 2.6 miles before lifting off four minutes later.

The tornado uprooted or snapped hundreds of trees along its path. A semitrailer overturned along U.S. 280/431. One school, two churches and at least 17 homes were heavily damaged, but no serious injuries or deaths were reported, the National Weather Service said.

The storm was an F2 tornado, which means it had winds of 125-130 mph. The tornado was part of a severe storm that flooded homes in south Phenix City and Columbus and dumped at least 2.7 inches of rain.

And we woke up this morning with 2 inches of snow. It was terrible and too dangerous to drive. We went to church but we have to cancel our trip to Atlanta as we expected more snow to come and it was not advisable to drive anywhere.

We played a little with the beautiful snow, making snowman and throwing snowballs. It has been almost 10 years since we last have snow in the valley.

Georgia Power reports about 1,000 customers were without power late Sunday afternoon in the Ellerslie area. A caller to News Leader 9 reported an outage in the area of Matthews Elementary School. In addition, Georgia Power estimates 700 customers lost service in Pine Mountain.

Muscogee County schools announced around 5:30 p.m. there will be no school Monday, including no evening high school. Spokesperson Valerie Fuller says any closings and delays will be passed to parents and employees through the Connect-ED telephone messaging service.

Flint River Academy in Woodbury was the first school to cancel Monday classes. The Monday night open house is canceled as well, Headmaster Marlowe Hinson said. Taylor County, Chattahoochee County and Marion County schools also were called off. (Check our separate stories on closings and "open for business" for a complete list.)

It was snowy enough to shut down the Columbus Public Library for the day, as well as call off several church services. The storm was extra dangerous because of "thundersnow," which was reported around 1:15 p.m. by a caller in northern Marion County. Lightning can be very hard to spot when snow obscures the clouds.

Alabama state troopers advised against traveling unless it's absolutely necessary. One WTVM staff member reported seeing three crashes in the Buena Vista Road and Schatulga Road areas. And Columbus resident Lowanna Richardson says even a small incline in the Belvedere Park neighborhood was enough for some cars to become stuck.

But some Columbus store owners told us they remain open, and encouraged people to go outside and shop.

Meteorologist Derek Kinkade says the snow is not likely to be strong enough to knock down trees and power lines. But he adds some overnight icing of roads and bridges is possible.

The storm had an impact far beyond Columbus. A Georgia Power spokesman told News Leader 9 about 42,000 customers lost service statewide, in an area stretching from Columbus to Atlanta to Athens. The spokesman explained strong winds were to blame.

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