Severe weather closes roads across Missouri

Thursday, April 10, 2008 | 11:34 p.m. CDT; updated 5:00 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
A van was stranded on a flooded road near Twin Bridges off Route E in Columbia on Thursday.

ST. LOUIS — Yet another round of severe weather closed nearly 200 roads in Missouri, forced the emergency evacuation of a newspaper office and had flood-weary residents along the Meramec River bracing for more high water.

In Columbia, parts of the city lost power for three to four hours Thursday afternoon and evening due to the weather. The outages affected about 4,000 people, said Connie Kacprowicz, spokeswoman for Columbia Water and Light.

The power substations at Hinkson and Blue Ridge were affected.

Outages also hit Sturgeon on Thursday, leaving 513 people without power. Power was restored to Sturgeon by about 5:30 p.m. and by about 8 p.m. to Columbia.

Many low-lying roads in Boone County also flooded, according to the 911 Joint Communications Center.

The closed roads included Blackfoot Road, Tri-City Road at Route CC, the 5100 block of Bonne Femme Church Road, Brown School Road west of Range Line Road and Akeman Bridge Road at Perche Creek.

Firefighters responded to the Twin Bridges on Thursday afternoon where an empty van was submerged in water. No one was injured.

The spring-like temperatures on Thursday — Sanborn Field recorded 74 degrees at mid-afternoon — were forecast to give way to windy and much cooler conditions on Friday and into the weekend.

Southern Missouri, which has already seen severe weather including winter ice storms and drenching early spring rains, again took the worst of it as storms began Wednesday night and continued into Thursday.

Several communities reported 3-4 inches of rain. The Missouri Department of Transportation reported that sections of 180 roads were closed as of midday Thursday, mostly due to flash flooding.

In southwest Missouri, nine people were evacuated with ropes and life jackets from the Monett Times as Kelly Creek burst its banks and water surrounded the building. Police said the creek also threatened other businesses in downtown Monett and forced the evacuation of a nearby trailer park with about 10 to 12 homes.

Times publisher Lisa Craft said the afternoon newspaper’s presses were high enough not to be threatened. But she said it was unclear when staff could get back in the building.

Dozens of counties were under tornado watches or warnings, but no sightings were reported.

Meanwhile, moderate flooding is projected at several Missouri communities over the next few days, including the Mississippi River towns of Hannibal, Saverton, Louisiana and Clarksville in northeast Missouri and Cape Girardeau and New Madrid in southeast Missouri. A few spots on the Missouri River could also see water levels slightly above flood stage.

More concerning was the Meramec, the eastern Missouri river that flooded in March, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate in several towns.

National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs said the Meramec could reach what the service considers “major” flood stage in Arnold, about 20 miles south of St. Louis. Last month, sandbags were used to protect about 50 homes in Arnold. The effort worked; none of those homes was damaged.

“The good news is we kept all of our sandbags in place,” said Greg Hall, Arnold’s director of administration.

With a few minor adjustments, the sandbags should be more than adequate for the next round of flooding, he said.

Moderate flooding was projected at the Meramec River towns of Valley Park, Eureka and Pacific.

The good news, Fuchs said, is that the near-term forecast does not call for a lot of additional rain.

“There could be threats of occasional flooding through the rest of the spring, but we don’t show any signals indicating this is 1993 all over again,” Fuchs said.

Missourian staff contributed to this report.

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