Fayetteville and Lincoln County escaped Saturday’s high winds and severe thunderstorms largely unscathed.
Temperatures were near 70 as the storms arrived, heightening warnings and causing many Lincoln Countians to be on edge, particularly considering that the day’s anticipated weather had prompted warnings throughout the preceding week.
Lincoln County Mayor Bill Newman opened the courthouse basement as a storm shelter in case it was needed, said Doug Campbell, director of the Emergency Management Agency, noting that Stewart’s Chapel Baptist Church in Flintville was also opened. In addition, some of the county’s fire stations were also on standby in case they were needed as shelters.
During the early afternoon, Fayetteville firefighters responded to a call at the Goodman plant where Fire Chief Jim Baldwin said a breaker had blown and thrown flames, popping a sprinkler head. The flames were extinguished, he said. As to whether the incident was weather-related, Baldwin said late Saturday afternoon that he was unsure.
“They had the same issue last Thursday, and we went out,” he said. “We had some weather then, too, so we are not ruling out lightning. It could have also been caused by a surge … either way, we are still investigating.”
High winds did result in damage to at least one Fayetteville business. Lincoln County Vending, located on Green Street, lost a portion of its metal siding early Saturday afternoon. Employees quickly responded, making temporary repairs during the heavy rain of the early afternoon.
Saturday morning’s winds also knocked out Fayetteville Public Utilities’ Flintville substation, said Britt Dye, CEO and general managers. Crews got the substation back up by mid-morning but worked through the afternoon restoring power in a few isolated areas where they had a couple of poles down and a few trees in the line.
The Lincoln County Highway Department was also out Saturday morning, clearing areas were down trees and limbs had blocked roadways, particularly in the Kelso area.
While there may have been a few back roads blocked due to heavy rains, there were no major roads or streets flooded in the city or rural Lincoln County, according to authorities.
In Pickens County, Ala., about 186 miles away from Fayetteville, three people were killed when a tornado touched down near Carrolton in the Settlement community. Altogether, authorities said at least seven people died as a result of the severe storms that swept across parts of the South. Other deaths