And in central Alabama, a 23-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman died after floodwater swept their vehicle over a guardrail Wednesday night in the city of Hoover, just south of Birmingham, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said.
Floodwater rushed onto roads, parking lots, and yards as inches of rain dropped quickly onto parts of the state Wednesday evening.
The October average for Birmingham is 3.34 inches, meaning portions of the area received significantly more than they normally receive in an entire month.
Hoover alone saw flash flooding “in several areas of the city,” and “several of these areas have not experienced flash flooding in the last 20 years,” fire Division Chief Duane Prater said Thursday.
As for the two deaths there, the vehicle had entered a flooded area and was soon pinned against a guardrail, Prater said. Fire crews arrived but couldn’t reach the pair because of the water’s speed and the vehicle’s location, he said.
“Within a couple of minutes, the rushing water pushed the vehicle over the guardrail and out of sight of the first responders,” Prater said.
Water was receding in the Birmingham area Thursday morning, but video from CNN affiliates still showed water lapping at some vehicles’ doors and homes in and around the city before sunrise.
More than 80 rescues from homes in Pelham
Floodwaters also quickly trapped numerous residents and motorists Wednesday night in Pelham, about 20 miles south of Birmingham, the Pelham fire chief said.
Responders received more than 280 calls and made more than 80 rescues from homes and at least 15 from vehicles using boats and other means, Pelham Fire Chief Michael Reid told reporters.
At least one person in Pelham was injured, Reid said without elaborating.
Many residents suffered damage to their homes and lost vehicles, Police Chief Pat Cheatwood told reporters Thursday.
A few more inches of rain could fall Thursday, and that could produce more flooding, the weather service said. Flood watches were in effect in parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle.
Impacts from the flooding that already has happened will be felt over the next several days, said Jim Coker, emergency management director for Jefferson County, which includes Birmingham.
“Crews will be out tomorrow checking damage and checking infrastructure, which is everything from roadways to pipelines to power lines,” he told CNN by phone.
A big concern is the condition of the roadways, Coker said, as workers will want to ensure there aren’t any washed-out areas that could cause traffic problems.