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Severe Weather Affects Alabama Farms

May 09, 2014

Alabama farmers are cleaning up and drying out after back-to-back storm systems brought tornadoes and heavy rains to the state April 28-30.

Alfa Insurance received over 2,300 claims from the storms, including reports of poultry houses damaged or destroyed by tornadoes in north Alabama. In south Alabama, flooding created planting delays for farmers.

“This is the third real heavy rain we’ve had this year,” said Joel Sirmon, who farms in Baldwin County. “We’re supposed to be planting peanuts and cotton right now, but it’s too wet for that.”

Sirmon said he had only planted sweet potatoes and corn so far, and he had 10 acres of fields under up to a foot of water after the last rain.

Mobile County Farmers Federation board member Bert Driskell said he is normally finished planting corn by May, but this year, he had less than half planted.

“We’re at a dead standstill again,” Driskell said last week. “We can’t get into the fields to do anything.”

The story was similar across south Alabama, from Washington County, where farmer Walt Richardson had 10 acres of corn underwater, to Henry County, where farmer Thomas Adams had  fields filled with standing water.

“Everything we’ve planted seems to be holding up well, but we keep getting farther behind,” said Adams, Henry County Farmers Federation president. “We are blessed to have missed the high winds and tornadoes.”

The Mobile National Weather Service (NWS) officially reported a record 11.24 inches of rain April 29 at the regional airport.

NWS storm surveys reported 18 tornadoes struck Alabama April 29, including at least four rated EF-3 with winds up to 160 miles an hour.

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