The Flint River in eastern Madison County has flooded almost every year. However, long term Huntsville area residents mention the flood of 1973 as the high water mark for Flint River. The far eastern areas of the county–Owens Crossroads and Gurley–were completely cut off from Huntsville.
Weather pattern set up area for massive flooding
The middle of March, 1973, was very warm in the southeast. A low pressure system caused severe thunderstorms to park over the city of Huntsville and Madison County for most of that Thursday, March 15th, according to the National Weather Service. As a result, over five inches of rain fell in the area that day, and caused extensive flooding. The Flint River was just one of many streams, creeks, and rivers that flooded as a result.
Roads, homes under water
The Flint River’s record flooding as a result of this event caused closures at many roads, including U.S. Highway 72 (the main route between Huntsville and Gurley), Ryland Pike, and Jordan Road. Winchester Road was not closed; however, the water reached the bottom of the bridge, which normally is between 30-50 feet above the river. Churches and homes were under water all the way from Oscar Patterson Road to the Tennessee River.
Other notable flooding events come close, but do not break the record
The flood of 1991 and the flood of April 2011 are among flooding events that have happened since the record-breaking flood of 1973. Those floods have closed roads, including Ryland Pike, but have not broke any of the 1973 records. Those records still stand at this time.
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