Montevallo, Wilton sustain damage in March 30 storms

Published 12:13 pm Thursday, March 31, 2022

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By EMILY SPARACINO | Staff Writer 

MONTEVALLO – Severe storms on the night of Wednesday, March 30 left damage in parts of Montevallo, including the University of Montevallo campus, and the nearby town of Wilton.

At about 10 p.m., a tornado warning was issued for Shelby County as a storm located near Ashby started to move northeast toward Montevallo and Wilton.

“After surveying for damage through the night and into the daylight, University officials have confirmed three buildings on campus were damaged during last night’s storms,” read a message sent to the UM campus community on the morning of Thursday, March 31. “Vacca Hall, which houses the Alabama Traffic Safety Center, suffered significant damage. Brooke Hall and the 3D Art Building both experienced minor damage. Aside from building damage, some downed trees and fences, storm debris and detached roof shingles and gutters have also been discovered.”

Fortunately, campus was not open at the time of the severe weather because of spring break.

Those who are not living on campus during the break are asked to refrain from coming to campus in order to facilitate further assessment, repairs and debris removal.

UM plans to resume normal operations as scheduled on Monday, April 4. Residence halls will open as planned on Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m.

“We wish to thank the UM Police Department, Physical Plant staff and Housing and Residence Life staff for working through the night to survey damage and tend to the needs of UM students,” the message read. “We would also like to thank UMPD and the staff in University Marketing and Communications for the timely warnings provided to our campus community throughout the night. As always, keeping the Montevallo family safe is our number one priority.”

Montevallo Fire and Rescue Public Information Officer Kay Goke said the department had no known major injuries to report in its coverage as a direct result of the storms.

“However, we did run multiple assistance calls afterward where we encountered several downed trees and power lines particularly in the Wilton area,” Goke said. “Additionally, there was storm damage to the University of Montevallo, all of which will continue to be assessed today.”

Prior to the line of storms, units from Montevallo were dispatched to a brush fire in West Shelby’s coverage area near Dogwood at about 7:23 p.m., according to Goke.

“Many residents near that area likely saw smoke,” Goke said. “The fire was contained thanks to assistance from units from Shelby County’s First Battalion as well as Alabama Forestry Commission. In a situation like we had yesterday with high winds across the state, brush fires can escalate quickly.”

Goke said Montevallo Fire and Rescue’s command staff remained in contact with several coordinating agencies, including Shelby County EMA, throughout the events of March 30.

Reports of downed trees in Wilton and Montevallo’s Orr Park have circulated.

“We have hired help to clear the streets,” read a post on the Town of Wilton Facebook page on the morning of March 31. “District 5 seems to have the most damage. We are currently in this area clearing debris from the road.”

Crews are currently clearing Depot Street and Church Street and are asking people to avoid the areas.

“We have noticed a lot of people out looking at damage from other areas,” the post read. “These are narrow streets, and it hinders the workers from getting the job done. Thankfully most of the homes in this area are OK. We do have a few with damage from trees.”

Residents may comment on the Facebook post or call (205) 281-0826 to notify the town of trees blocking a road.

Check for updates as more information about the March 30 storms is released.