A spring storm featured a lot of bark but little bite as it passed through Atmore and Escambia County on Monday, April 3.
The weather system brought strong wind gusts and included a barrage of thunder and lightning as it dumped a large amount of rain, but left behind relatively little structural damage.
The storm was nowhere near as intense as forecasters had warned. Classes were cancelled at schools and colleges across the county in anticipation of a major weather event, and a scattering of businesses scrapped their workday so that employees would not have to drive in the anticipated tempest.
“It was a bit of a letdown, really,” said Atmore Fire Chief Ron Peebles, who called in off-duty and volunteer firefighters to help handle the heavy call volume that seemed imminent. “We expected there would be a lot more to it than there was.”
The only vehicle wreck that was attributed to the storm came shortly before 8 a.m., when emergency dispatchers reported an overturned car on Florida Road, in one of the county’s southernmost areas. The reinforcements were called in mainly to man stations left unattended by the response.
“When we had to send a unit down there, I had them call in everybody so that there would be people in the stations,” Peebles said. “We still figured at that time that we would be getting several calls over a short period.”
The accident turned out to be relatively minor, with no injuries serious enough to require transport. Moments after AFD units arrived, they were called back to their respective bases.
There were scattered incidents of wind damage across the county, the most severe in the Old Atmore Road area near Flomaton, where a barn was destroyed and several outbuildings were damaged.
Shingles were ripped from the roof of at least one home on Bell Fork Road, and gusts toppled trees and downed power lines, mostly along Jack Springs Road and in other rural areas of the county. Several yards and streets in Atmore were submerged until the rain ceased and the city’s drainage system carried the excess water away.
Peebles pointed out that it was better to be safe than sorry. He also pointed out that another storm system, potentially a strong one, was expected to sweep into the county Wednesday morning .
“We thought it would be a lot more serious than it was, but I’m glad it turned out like it did,” the fire chief said Tuesday morning. “But they say another storm is coming in tomorrow, and it’s supposed to be a bad one, but you never know. We’ll just have to wait and see.”