Road Closures Due To Flooding

March 31, 2009

Several roads in the area are flooded following heavy rains today.

Escambia County officials report the following road closures due to flooding:

  • Poplar Dell Road
  • Arena Road
  • Eastman Lane
  • Nine and a Half Mile Road at Sunday Road
  • Cottage Hill Road near Williams Ditch readers report that ” Barrineau Park Road has water rushing across the road just South of Barrineau Park School Road and before the bridge at the bottom of the hill. This is on a bad curve and is a potential for an accident.  Water is also rushing across Barrineau Park Road just South of Barrineau Lane, again on a curve.  Water is up to the bottom of the door on small vehicles on Barrineau Park School Road toward the Barrineau Park Road end.  Please use caution, especially once nightfall comes.”

Tornado Warning: Central Escambia

March 31, 2009

The National Weather Service in Mobile has issued a

* Tornado Warning for…
central Escambia County in northwest Florida…

* until 630 PM CDT

* at 533 PM CDT…a meteorologist near Beulah Florida reported a
funnel cloud near Beulah…near the landfill…and was moving east
at 40 mph.

* The  tornado will be near…

rural eastern Escambia County at 550 PM CDT

The safest place to be during a tornado is on the lowest floor of a
sturdy building…preferably in an interior hallway or a room such as
a closet or bathroom. If possible…get under a workbench or other
piece of sturdy furniture. Use blankets or pillows to cover your body
and always stay away from windows. In addition to the tornado…this
storm is capable of producing large damaging hail or damaging
straight line winds.

If you are in Mobile home…evacuate it and get on the lowest floor
of a nearby sturdy building or in an underground storm shelter. If no
substantial shelter is available and a tornado is fast approaching…

seek shelter in a culvert…ditch or low depression and cover your
head with your hands.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch remains in effect until 800 PM CDT
Tuesday evening for southwestern Alabama and northwest Florida and
southeast Mississippi.

Flash Flood Warning

March 31, 2009

(Updated 4:55 p.m.) The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning until 9:00 tonight.

Radar estimated that some areas between Walnut Hill, McDavid and Molino had received up to five inches of rainfall as of 5:00 this afternoon.

There is an 80 percent chance of more rain tonight, and a 40 percent chance of storms, some possibly severe, for Wednesday and Wednesday night. The chance of rain continues at 60 percent for Thursday.

The National Weather Service in Mobile has issued a

* Flash Flood Warning for…
Escambia County in northwest Florida…
Okaloosa County in northwest Florida…
Santa Rosa County in northwest Florida…
southwestern Covington County in south central Alabama…
southern Escambia County in south central Alabama…

* until 900 PM CDT

Ernest Ward Cheerleading Tryouts Canceled

March 31, 2009

Cheerleading tryouts at Ernest Ward Middle School today have been canceled due to weather.

The tryouts will be recheduled sometime after Spring Break.

Schools Dismissed Safely; Flooded Roads; Power Outages

March 31, 2009

School officials tells us that all area schools dismissed safely this afternoon after some minor delays due to flooded roads.

Transportation officials tell us that all North Escambia students from Ernest Ward and Northview that ride buses have been delivered to their homes.

Many area roads are flooded. Do not drive through standing water.  A flash flood warning is in effect.

Scattered power outages are being reported across the area. A large scale outage that included Walnut Hill, Bratt and Davisville has been mostly restored.

Omega Drive House Fire

March 31, 2009

Fire units from across the area responded to a reported house fire on Omega Drive in Molino about 4:20 this afternoon.

Minor damage was reported. There were no injuries.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch Issued; Flood Watch In Effect; More Rain Ahead

March 31, 2009

(Updated 1:20 p.m.) The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for North Escambia and surrounding areas until 7:00 tonight. A flash flood watch is also in effect until Wednesday morning.

Many across the North Escambia area will keep a watchful eye on the skies today, with as much as five to six inches of rain expected by tomorrow morning.

The National Weather Service says scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop across the region during the day, gradually becoming more numerous during the afternoon. By the late afternoon or early evening hours, a more organized squall line will develop in advance of an approaching front. The storms will move across the area during the late evening or early Wednesday morning.

On the severe weather side, the primary threat from the squall line will be damaging straight line winds. But the biggest concern across North Escambia will be the potential for very heavy rainfall following last weeks storms that dumped up to an estimated 15 inches near Molino.

The weather service says that an average of two to four inches can be expected across the area, with localized areas receiving up to five to six inches. The heavy rains would likely make flooding conditions along area streams and rivers worse, and heavy rains on already saturated ground would create the possibility of more flash flooding in the region.

The weather service has issued a flash flood watch in effect through Wednesday morning. The official rain chance is 100 percent today, 80 percent tonight, 50 percent early Wednesday, 20 percent Wednesday night, 60 percent Thursday and 30 percent Thursday night. Friday and Saturday look sunny, and the rain is forecast to return by Sunday. will continue to monitor the weather situation and post updates as needed.

Area Pound Pup Becomes College Mascot

March 31, 2009


The new bulldog mascot for the University of North Carolina Asheville began his college career as a rescued dog at the Escambia County (Ala.) Animal Shelter.

His name was Rebel when he was rescued along with a female named Dixie in early 2008. Dixie and Rebel were the proud parents of 10 beautiful puppies. Their owners surrendered them to the animal shelter, according to Renee Jones, director of the Humane Society of Escambia County, Ala.

Jones fostered the canine family at her home for nine days before they were moved to the Rockin’ P Boxer rescue in Jackson, Ala.

“I sent her the pics of how adorable the pups were and she agreed to take them. Two of her wonderful volunteers met us in Montgomery and crammed the two adults along with the ten puppies into a small little neon and off they went,” Jone said. Rebel was later transfered to a rescue shelter in Georgia.

For years, UNC Asheville’s bulldog mascot, Rocky, has been known to be tenacious, strong and courageous… now rescued can be added to this list of traits.

The University unveiled its new live mascot “Rocky I,” a white Victorian Bulldog with black spots, at half-time of the men’s basketball homecoming game against Coastal Carolina on February 21, at UNC Asheville’s Justice Center. Rocky I will make his triumphant entrance following the presentation of the 2009 Athletics Hall of Fame inductees.

“To know that we were a part of Rocky’s, aka Rebel’s, happy ending and to know that he will bring much joy to the fans and players at UNC is more gratifying than I can even express,” Jones said. “So much sincere thanks to the rescues, the volunteers, and the individuals who adopt.”

“Students, alumni, faculty, staff and the entire community are absolutely going to fall in love with this dog,” said Kevan Frazier, UNC Asheville Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations, who has been instrumental in bringing back the tradition of a live mascot. “At first glance you see an 85-pound bulldog and then you see a very friendly attention-loving pal. And on top of that, he’s just cute.”

The University has had four live bulldog mascots dating from 1948 to the early 1980s. The tradition lay dormant for more than 20 years until recently. About two years ago, students, alumni and staff began working diligently to bring back the tradition.

rocky11.jpgAlumni couple and dog lovers Alexis and Ed Johnson volunteered to be the mascot’s keepers and trainers. Ed, who is a lecturer in UNC Asheville’s Mathematics Department, began contacting breeders across the southeast. For months he had little luck finding the right dog. On a whim one day, Ed started researching bulldog rescue organizations. In less than 30 minutes he found what seemed like a perfect match in Rebel.

Victorian Bulldogs are a new breed established to resemble the bulldogs of the 18th and 19th century. They are taller than the well-known English Bulldog and have broad faces, large heads, wide chests and short, smooth coats. Though still quite rare, the Victorian Bulldog is a much sought-after pet because they are affectionate and athletic.

Last November, Ed and Alexis drove to Georgia to meet the rescued Victorian Bulldog and to determine if they could mold him into mascot material. Immediately they knew they had found Rocky I.

“The dog was extremely gregarious and overly friendly. It was clear that he absolutely thrives on attention and would make a perfect mascot,” said Ed Johnson.

The couple soon learned another one of the dog’s traits. “By the time we arrived back in Asheville, the car, Alexis and I were completely covered in slobber,” laughed Johnson.

He now carries a UNC Asheville Athletics “True Blue” towel with him whenever Rocky has an outing. But nobody seems to mind a little drool.

“When I met Rocky, I knew that he was the dog for UNC Asheville,” said Frazier. “He was worth the wait, drool and all.”

A group of mathematics students have already encountered Rocky’s soon-to-be famous slobber – albeit in a totally unexpected way.

Johnson has been bringing Rocky to campus about once a week to become familiar with the sights and sounds of UNC Asheville before his big debut. Because these visits have been clandestine to lead up to the big reveal, Johnson left Rocky in his office briefly and closed the door. When he came back, student papers were strewn about the floor and covered in teeth marks and drool.

“Rocky actually ate some homework,” Johnson laughed. “Though he does actually prefer leather chews and homemade roast beef treats.”

When Johnson is in the office, a gate is placed across the door to keep Rocky from wandering the halls. The dog leans his neck over the gate reaching as far into the hallway as possible, looking for someone to come by to scratch his head.

One student who has met Rocky is Mary Ann Craver, who served on the mascot committee.

“I was so excited to meet him and wasn’t disappointed,” said Craver, a senior from Lexington, N.C. “Rocky’s energy is great. He’s very friendly and athletic and brings the mascot personality to life. Now the UNC Asheville Bulldog isn’t just a symbol.”

Frazier agrees and sees Rocky’s rescue from Georgia as especially serendipitous.

“From all accounts, this dog didn’t want any part of being a Georgia Bulldog,” he said. “Rocky is a UNC Asheville Bulldog through and through. We’re proud to welcome him home.”

Pictured: Now known as Rocky, this Victorian Bulldog was once a rescue at the Escambia County (Ala.) Animal Shelter. Submitted photos for

DA Wants Manslaughter Bond Revoked For Man In Flomaton Crash

March 31, 2009

After he was involved in a Flomaton crash just over a week ago, a motion has been filed to revoke the bond for a man charged with manslaughter for a wreck that killed an Atmore couple.

hauer.jpgAuthorities say George Wesley Hauer was involved in an accident that injured a family of four on March 22 on Highway 31 east of Flomaton. At the time of the accident, he had been out on a $300,000 bond for only about two weeks after being charged with manslaughter in Baldwin County for a 2007 wreck that killed an Atmore couple.

“Driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle is a violation of the conditions of the defendant’s bond,” according to the motion filed by Baldwin County Assistant District Attorney Matt Simpson.

A hearing in the case had been scheduled for Wednesday, but court records indicate that it had already been postponed prior to the bond-revocation motion. The case itself is scheduled to be heard in August.

In the March 20, 2007, wreck, Dwight Eugene Nichols, 74, and his wife Wilma Ellavan Nichols, 77, of Atmore were traveling south in a Mercedes E320 on Highway 31 near Perdido, when they collided with a northbound sports utility vehicle driven by Hauer, according to Alabama State Troopers. Both Nichols died a short time later at an area hospital.

The March 22 Flomaton accident happened just after 4:00 p.m. on Highway 31 at Old Fannie Road. Two people were transported to Pensacola by two different LifeFlight helicopters, one to Sacred Heart Hospital and one to Baptist Hospital.

31flomaton10.jpgOfficials say the car, driven by David Smith of Flomaton collided with a truck driven Hauer. Smith was transported to Baptist Hospital by ambulance were he was treated for a broken jaw.

Hauer was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital by LifeFlight in serious condition. He has since been released from the hospital.

State troopers say no charges have been filed in the March 22 accident as they continue their investigation. Troopers have not released further information on the accident.

Leigh Smith, a passenger in car, was transported by LifeFlight to Baptist Hospital in critical condition. Her condition was reportedly upgraded to stable Sunday night. Another passenger in the car, Samantha Bryant, a senior at Flomaton High School, was transported to Baptist Hospital in Pensacola with non life threatening injuries. Passenger Curtis Byrant refused treatment the scene.

Relatives tell us that Curtis Bryant suffered a broken wrist in the accident, and Samantha Bryant suffered just minor injuries. The mother, Leigh Smith remains hospitalized with broken ribs, a broken shoulder and a broken knee.

Pictured above: Rescue workers work to free a victim of a  March 22 accident near Flomaton. Pictured top inset: Baldwin County jail booking photo for George Wesley Hauer.  Pictured bottom inset: The Smith’s car. file photos, click to enlarge.

Weather Service Releases Official Rainfall Totals From Last Week’s Storms

March 31, 2009

The National Weather Service has issued official rainfall totals from last week’s storms.

The most rain in Escambia County fell in Molino, with 11.8 inches falling Wednesday, March 25 through Saturday, March 28. The Gonzalez area of the county recorded 9.14 inches, while Pensacola officially received 4.48 inches of rain during the period.

In Santa Rosa County, Milton recorded 7.25 inches and Pace received 6.71 inches.

In Okaloosa County, Baker topped the Panhandle rain totals at 12.2 inches, and Crestview had 10.59 inches of rain.

In Escambia County, Ala., 6.2 inches fell in Brewton and 5.04 inches fell in Pollard.

The most rain on the coast to hit an official rain gauge last week was in Theodore, Ala., at 15.62 inches.

Radar indicated that some areas in a line from Molino to Baker received up to 15 inches during the period. Most of these areas do not have an official NWS rain gauge.

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