COLUMBIA — Lightning strikes from intense thunderstorms Tuesday morning contributed to numerous power outages across Columbia while heavy rains flooded streets and made for a difficult morning commute.
Numerous roads were under water Tuesday morning, and a flood warning was posted across Boone County until 7:15 Tuesday night.
At 10:05 a.m., Connie Kacprowicz of the Columbia Water and Light Department said there were 16 power outages, mostly from lightning strikes hitting transformers, affecting about 3,000 city electric customers. The bulk of outages began about 4 a.m. on the east side of the city, she said. By 5 a.m., outages were reported on the north side. Other outages were reported on the west and central-east part of the city, Kacprowicz said.
Additional Water and Light crews were called in early Tuesday morning. “We have crews on the scene working as quickly as possible. People need to be prepared for an outage at any time with a system like this,” Kacprowicz said.
Chuck Mastalski, the supervisor on duty at the Joint Communications Center, said most traffic signals along Stadium Boulevard and some on Forum Boulevard were either out or on flash as of 10:10 a.m. Traffic lights were down at the intersection of Providence Road and Stadium Boulevard as of 10:20 a.m.
Mastalski said earlier that Blackfoot Road was closed at the Columbia-Boone County line. The heavy rain raised the threat that some streams could overflow their banks and cause roads to be closed. As of 10:30 a.m. the following roads were closed: Creasy Springs Road near Bear Creek Trail, Strawn Road south of I-70 Drive Southwest and U.S. 40 at Midway. A complete list of road closures can be found at showmeboone.com/OEM/closures.htm.
Sanborn Field on the MU campus had recorded 4.28 inches of rain by 10:10 a.m., and there was an unofficial report of 4 inches by midmorning just north of Columbia on Route E.
Gale Bloomenkamp, a public information officer for Boone County Fire Protection District, said seven houses in the district were struck by lightning as of 5:34 a.m.
Meanwhile, the Columbia Fire Department responded to 39 calls from 1:41 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., including four calls related to structure fires, according to a news release from the department.