Rain puddle

Severe weather early Sunday morning knocked power out for thousands of customers in east-central Alabama as high winds and heavy downpours of rain led to numerous reports of downed trees, flash flooding and widespread damage.

The Lake Martin area near Alexander City bore much of the worst impact from the first round of storms Sunday, although severe weather was expected to continue late into the night. Damage also was reported in Lee and Chambers counties, ranging from trees and large limbs falling on structures and vehicles to washed-out ravines and flooded roads.

The Tallapoosa County Courthouse in Dadeville, closed recently because of the coronavirus pandemic, reopened as an emergency shelter Sunday but was without electrical power for much of the day.

Alabama Power Co. reported 7,500 customers in the county were without power by 11 a.m., all caused by the morning havoc from storms that roared through the area before 7 a.m. Much of the evening round of storms caused concerns about flooding.

Roads in Opelika and Auburn began flooding when heavy rains returned around 6 p.m. Sunday and continued into the night.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham issued flash-flood advisories for Lee and surrounding counties, and the heavy rain created hazardous travel conditions.

Local rainfall measured 2 to 4 inches early in the day, and an additional 1 to 3 inches came in the early evening hours.

Opelika Power Services also responded to power outages Sunday.

Troy Turner is editor of the Opelika-Auburn News. He previously served as the news editor in New York for the nation's second largest newspaper company, and as the senior editor at several other news entities around the nation. He is an Auburn alum.

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