JAY REEVES

Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Remnants of Hurricane Isaac dumped torrential rain on parts of western and southern Alabama, covering roads with as much of 3 feet of water Tuesday and making travel hazardous.

Swirling water lapped at the doors of businesses in downtown Selma, which sits along the banks of the Alabama River, and the National Weather Service said streets there were flooded 1 yard deep. At least 20 cars filled with quick-rising water at an automotive dealership before workers could move them.

A school bus was briefly stuck on a muddy dirt road to the south near Geneva, and a warehouse that an official said provides food for thousands of elderly people in west Alabama was a foot deep in water in Brent.

“They’ll have to make arrangements through Montgomery to feed those people,” said Wayne Hayes, emergency management director for Bibb County, where the flooded Valley Foods building is located.

Parts of a highway were covered with water in Gordo, forcing the evacuation of some families in Pickens County. Some roads were also impassable in Lowndes County.

Forecasters said Selma received about 10 inches of rain Monday and Tuesday, and other areas received nearly 7 inches. Some storm cells produced as much as 2 inches of rain an hour, the weather service said.

It could be Wednesday before the heaviest rains end.

Luke Weerts couldn’t believe the scene outside Church Street United Methodist Church in Selma, where a car passing by on a flooded road left a wake that sent waves across the yard to the doorway of the fellowship hall.

Beach balls bobbed in the breeze on the flooded children’s playground.

“The rain came down almost horizontally,” said Weerts, facilities director at the church.

“All of the streets are backed up with rainwater because the drainage system couldn’t handle it.”

A worker at Victor Automotive in Selma said waters rose so quickly at the business that employees didn’t have time to move all the vehicles, and about 20 were inundated. Video from WSFA-TV showed cars outside the business with water up to the windows.

Streams were rising in the flood-prone city of Geneva, which sits near the confluence of two rivers, and causing problems on the numerous dirt roads in the area.

“They’re beginning to get muddy and we had a school bus to get stuck,” said Margaret Mixon, the county’s emergency management director. “Other than that we’re OK.”

The weather service also reported flooded roads in Fort Deposit, Andalusia and Greensboro, and winds knocked down trees across several counties.

In Bibb County, Hayes said the food warehouse was among about a half-dozen businesses and homes that were inundated by water, but the flood was receding by midday.

“It’s a big mess,” he said. The weather service issued a flash flood watch and warnings for a large part of south Alabama and northwest Florida.


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