Alberto takes on Chilton courthouse in flood fury

Published 1:49 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2018

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Subtropical Depression Alberto stomped through Chilton County two days ago, but the county is still scrambling in its wake as the storm’s rainy tail sweeps the area.

Power lines and trees fell victim to lightning and whipping gales earlier in the rampage, but Alberto may have delivered its most frustrating blow with stubborn flooding in the Chilton County Courthouse basement, endangering important documents.

“We’re trying to get all this water bailed out and protect all records and everything else,” Sheriff John Shearon of the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office said on May 30.

Floodwaters have reached approximately 8 inches in some areas of the courthouse and are still dribbling in.

“We’re trying to get everything cleaned up — it’s steadily running in. As fast as we can suck it up, it’s running in,” Shearon said. “It was probably about an inch deep in communications earlier, but we got that knocked down. But down in the maintenance office, it’s about 8 inches deep.”

Shearon said an emerging issue is water seeping through the courthouse walls into other offices, including the district attorney and probate offices.

Shock vacuums and fans have been humming vigorously in the facility.

In preparation for Alberto’s arrival on May 28, Chilton County was included in a governor-issued State of Emergency for 40 Alabama counties, beginning 6 a.m. on May 27.

Following Alberto’s departure, a flash flood emergency from the National Weather Service went into effect on May 30 at 9:16 a.m. for Chilton, Bibb and Perry counties, scheduled to conclude at 9:15 p.m. the same day.

“We’re dealing with a lot of flooding throughout the county, especially around our creeks and areas like that,” Chilton County EMA Director Derrick Wright said on May 30. “No life-threatening issues at this time.”

Shearon said more issues may still arise as a result of the storm.

“As saturated as the ground is, I’m sure we’re still going to have some sporadic trees down,” he said.

Still swamped by the subtropical onslaught, crews continue to combat fallen tree limbs, downed power lines and even a house fire ignited by lightning, according to Wright.