Alabama dodges a bullet

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 11, 2005

Hurricane Dennis came and went Sunday night, leaving much of Shelby County and the surrounding area unscathed.

Alabama Power reported that nearly 220,000 people in Alabama were without power Monday morning, but the majority of those reports came out of coastal counties and Montgomery.

Governor Bob Riley addressed the public yesterday, even as Dennis thundered inland, saying that he believed the state had &uot;dodged a big bullet.&uot; The governor said that the hardest hit town in the state was Atmore, with widespread power outages and wind damage.

Shelby County residents saw a number of tree limbs and brush in the yards Monday morning. But few reports of trees blocking roads and driveways were surfaced Monday.

Dennis mad landfall Sunday at 2:25 Sunday afternoon around Pensacola, Fla. The storm hit with sustained winds of 120 mile per hour but quickly faded to a category one storm for most of its trek across Alabama.

– Brandon Gresham

— July 10 — 5:15 p.m. — Dennis weakens, but citizens asked to remain cautious

Hurricane Dennis is weakening, but residents of Shelby County should still be preparing for the worst as the storm’s right side brushes through the area Sunday night around 8 to 9 p.m.

Reports of damage along the Gulf Coast are still developing, but initial statistics are showing that coastal towns came out of the storm with less damage than was first predicted.

The National Weather service is warning that residents in the Birmingham area and surrounding counties, including Shelby county, can still expect high wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour and the possibility of flash flooding and tornadoes.


The Shelby County Commission has rescheduled its meeting for Monday, July 12. The commission will meet at 12 noon instead of 8:30 a.m.

— July 10 — 3 p.m. — Dennis hits gulf coast with devastating force

Hurricane Dennis made landfall at approximately 2 p.m. on Sunday near Fort Myers, Fla.

The storm, considered one of the most powerful to ever hit the Gulf panhandle, came ashore as a strong category three hurricane with winds nearing 125 miles per hour.

Dennis shifted its course slightly Sunday morning and is now making a beeline for the west side of Alabama.

Residents of Shelby County can expect to feel the brunt of hurricane Dennis beginning Sunday evening at around 8:30 p.m. The county, which will face the powerful right side of Dennis, will likely see flash flooding and tornado activity as the storm moves through.

Shelters are currently open for all residents at these locations:

Pelham Civic Complex &045; Pelham &045; 205-620-6448 (ext-100)

Chelsea City Hall &045; Chelsea &045; 205-678-6060

Brook Hills Baptist Church &045; Birmingham &045; 205-313-7777

— July 10 — 12 p.m. — Dennis set to make landfall

Hurricane Dennis regained much of its strength Saturday night and Sunday morning and is now a category four storm with sustained winds of 140 miles per hour.

The storm is scheduled to make landfall on the Gulf coast sometime between 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, but residents along the coast are already seeing the effects of Dennis with strong winds and heavy rain.

Shelby County residents can expect heavy rains and high winds to start around 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday evening with a high chance for flash flooding and possible tornadoes.

Dennis’ path shifted somewhat early Sunday morning, bringing it closer to the center of Alabama. Shelters will be open today at the Pelham Civic Center and Chelsea City Hall. For information regarding those shelters residents can call the Alabaster Red Cross office at 663-4290.

The Shelby County Reporter will post the opening times and locations of all shelters in the Shelby County area as soon as they are made available.

-Brandon Gresham

— JULY 9 — 6 p.m. — Dennis regains strength, prepares to make landfall

Hurricane Dennis has regained some of its power after being downgraded to a category two hurricane Saturday morning.

The National Weather Service reported Saturday evening that Dennis has once again become a category three storm; with winds reaching 115 miles per hour.

Dennis is projected to make landfall along the Gulf of Mexico coastlines in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana on Sunday afternoon or evening.

At its current speed, residents of Shelby County can expect to see winds increasing and heavy rain starting late Sunday night and early Monday morning.

The Nation Weather Service is reporting that Dennis has already dropped over four inches of rain in areas of Florida, and Gulf coast areas can expect as much as 12 inches of rain over the next 48 hours.

Dennis has already claimed 32 lives in the Caribbean but there have been no reports of casualty in the U.S.

-Brandon Gresham

— JULY 9 — 9:45 a.m. —

Dennis weakens slightly, could regain strength in Gulf

Nearly 500,000 residents of Alabama’s Mobile and Baldwin counties are headed north today, following an evacuation order by Alabama Governor Bob Riley in preparation for Hurricane Dennis.

Dennis is projected to make landfall around the Mobile Bay area sometime Sunday night. If it continues on its current path, Shelby County residents should prepare to see the brunt of the storm on Monday morning.

Dennis weakened slightly over night as it crossed Cuba on Friday and headed in to the Gulf of Mexico. But experts say that it could pick up speed once it gets in to the Gulf. Dennis is the earliest storm ever to reach Category 4, which it did on Friday, so early in the storm season.

– Brandon Gresham

— JULY 8 — 2:15 p.m. —

Hurricane gathers strength

Shelby County is preparing for the worst as Dennis the Menace heads our way, officials say.

&uot;With the current projected path,&uot; county Emergency Management Agency director Don Greene said, &uot;this one will be more eventful than Ivan because we’re on the right side of the eye.&uot;

Greene said current projections indicate Hurricane Dennis will make landfall between Mobile Bay and Pensacola, Fla., at 7 p.m. Sunday night.

&uot;That will put it at Shelby County about 7 a.m. Monday,&uot; Greene said.

Declaring a state of emergency, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley has ordered an evacuation of the counties near the Gulf of Mexico. Greene said as south Alabama and Panhandle Florida residents head up Interstate 65, the Red Cross will be opening shelters across the county.

The main shelter to be operated by the Red Cross will be at the Pelham Civic Center near Highway 119. Other shelters will open at the First Baptist Church in Columbiana and Liberty Baptist Church in Chelsea. In addition, he said, cities and communities may open sites for sheltering local residents.

&uot;We don’t have a definite time when these will open,&uot; he said. &uot;It will be as the need arises depending on the evacuation. &uot;Right now, it’s still 48 hours away, so we’re in a wait-and-see mode,&uot; Greene said.

Hurricane Dennis has slowed a little and is now moving over Cuba as a strong Category 4 hurricane. Category 4 indicates wind speeds of 131-155 mph on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

At noon, sustained winds from Hurricane Dennis were reported at 150 mph, just 5 mph from classification as a Category 5 storm, according to the National Weather Service. Category five hurricanes have a wind speed of more than 155 mph.

– Candace Parker

— JULY 8 — 2 p.m. —

The Shelby County Reporter will be running regular updates regarding the approach of Hurricane Dennis to Alabama. Please continue to visit this site as we try to provide our readers as much information as possible regarding the storm.

Thank you