TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Saturday afternoon, the Tuscaloosa Police Department closed several flooded roads and helped stranded motorists after heavy rainfall took the city by storm.
TPD officers also assisted the Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service in a search for a motorist whose SUV was swept into a drainage ditch in the area of Hargrove Road and Greensboro Avenue.
In a release, authorities said that the flooded roads were primarily in the areas north of 15th Street and the University of Alabama campus. Several roads were impassable and had to be closed for several hours until the water receded.
Officers responded to a high number of calls in which people had to climb out of the windows of their stalled vehicles to escape rising floodwaters.
At 2:11 p.m., officers were called to Bonita Terrace where an SUV had been swept into a drainage ditch that runs along 14th Avenue, behind Fitts Industries and under Greensboro Avenue. Authorities said that a witness told them the vehicle became stuck in the drainage tunnel where the ditch flows downstream under Greensboro. They also said the occupant disappeared underwater and did not resurface.
A water rescue team responded and searched the area, but the 40-year-old man could not be located as of 7 p.m.
The release stated that police dispatchers received 105 calls between 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. today. In comparison, they said that there were 58 calls for service during the same time last Saturday and 71 calls on Saturday, Sep. 4.
At the end of the release, TPD urged motorists to continue to exercise caution and not underestimate the force and power of water. They said that just 12 inches of rushing water can displace most cars, and two feet of water can carry away SUVs and trucks.