TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Heavy rainfall dumped inches of rain in Tuscaloosa causing multiple streets to flood and motorists left stranded. Tuscaloosa police and firefighters responded to a call about a motorist whose SUV was swept in a drainage ditch near Greensboro Avenue.
The fire chief told CBS 42 the search was suspended at 7 p.m. due to safety concerns with the rainfall and darkness. But plans are being made for the search to continue Sunday morning.
Police began receiving calls Saturday afternoon in regards to several roads near the University of Alabama were impacted by flash flooding.
“We started receiving multiple calls for vehicles in water and things of that nature. Water going into apartments and homes. We responded to approximately 25 calls for assistance,” said Randy Smith, Fire Chief of Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue.
Many of those calls were coming from people north of 15th street by UA’s campus.
“We were coming down and the water didn’t seem that bad and then out of nowhere, it just got flooded,” said Brady Short, a student at UA.
Students like Brady Short had their vehicles stall out and needed assistance from first responders.
“Her car stopped working. The car started to flood. We had to climb out through the windows because we couldn’t open the doors,” said Short.
Another call came in around 2 pm from an eyewitness reporting an SUV had been swept into a drainage ditch.
“The car was stranded in the water, and someone was trying to push it out and it pushed into the culver right around the backside of broad more gardens and it washed out and lodged down here at Greensboro right under the road,” said Fire Chief Smith.
The 40-year-old occupant of the car disappeared underwater and the Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue Services’ Swift Water Rescue team responded.
“Once the water breaks off into two separate locations right here underneath near 359 and goes out to the west. We’ve had crews walk the tracks walking we had crews walking through the woods you know, and it just got to the point it’s starting to get dark and hazardous to their lives so we’re suspending the search,” said Fire Chief Smith.
The fire department will be back out walking near Greensboro Avenue Sunday morning searching again for the 40-year-old man.