MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A line of strong thunderstorms swept through water-logged Alabama on Monday, downing trees and dumping heavy rain on a state trying to clean up from Christmas Day storms.
"The main thing we've been getting is flood reports. We've had reports of downed trees because the ground is saturated," Jason Holmes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said.
The National Weather Service issued at least four short-lived tornado warnings in southeast Alabama as radar indicated possible tornadoes, although no major damage was reported.
The heavy rains closed roads and caused flooding in low-lying areas and near streams and rivers.
Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner said at least 22 Alabama counties were reporting infrastructure problems with roads and bridges because of flooding.
"There are some with water over them. There are some that are completely washed out," Faulkner said.
The swollen Alabama River submerged part of the riverfront park in Montgomery. Law enforcement authorities urged people to be cautious and avoid swiftly moving floodwaters.
The severe weather threat came to a state already besieged by Christmas Day storms fueled by unusually warm winter weather.
More than 100 homes, businesses and structures were flooded in Coffee County as the Pea River and area streams swelled their banks.
Seventy families registered for assistance at the volunteer center in Elba that was collecting food, clothes, cleaning supplies and other donations for displaced families.
"A lot of those folks were hit really hard," said Philip Box, the Elba representative for the Recovery Organization of Coffee County.
Elba Mayor Mickey Murdock said the river was beginning to recede Monday and had reached below flood stage, but the continued rains were hindering the effort to assess, and then begin cleaning up, the damage.
Birmingham city officials said Monday that more than 70 structures sustained some type of damage from a tornado that touched down on Christmas night. The damage ranged from minor to complete destruction.
At least two deaths, and possibly a third, were caused by the storm system.
A man and a 5-year-old were killed Christmas Day in Coffee County when their vehicle was swept away by flood waters as they tried to cross a closed bridge.
Faulkner said the body of another man was found Sunday in 10-foot-deep floodwaters in Madison County.
The state is expected to get one more round of heavy rain and potentially severe weather.
Another storm system is expected to move through the state Wednesday.
"Then the good news is we have nice, dry and cooler weather," Holmes said.