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Remnants of tropical storm Gordon bring heavy rain, flooding to St. Louis, Southern Illinois

Fire Department Water Rescue crews aid stranded motorists

The Belleville Fire Department Water Rescue prepared and launched their boat to rescue stranded motorists on Old St Louis Rd.
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The Belleville Fire Department Water Rescue prepared and launched their boat to rescue stranded motorists on Old St Louis Rd.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for parts of Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair counties after the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon roared into the area, bring up to 5 inches of rain in some areas, flooding roads and farm fields.

The warning extends to northern Randolph County, northwestern Monroe County and northwestern St. Clair County.

The weather Service predicts several rounds of heavy rainfall are likely through Sunday morning from a combination of a slow-moving cold front and remnants of Gordon in the Gulf of Mexico, and was moving north from Louisiana.

Rainfall totals of 2-5 inches are forecast across the area, with the highest totals along the Interstate 44 corridor in Missouri and Interstate 55 in Illinois.

At 6:30 p.m., Meteorologist Gary Schmocker at the National Weather Service in St. Louis said the rainfall that hit Belleville and its outskirts ranged from 2 inches to 6.4 inches. Most of this precipitation fell on Friday afternoon and night and into the early morning hours on Saturday.

Schmocker said less than a quarter of an inch is predicted in the Belleville area through Saturday night and into the early morning hours of Sunday.

“It will be almost nothing,” he said.

Illinois State Police responded to more than 70 calls for service since the rain started Friday night, according to ISP spokesman Calvin Dye Jr. There were 10 crashes, including a triple fatality that happened on I-55 near Collinsville Friday night, State Police said alcohol was involved, and that the driver of the vehicle that caused the head-on crash was drivin too fast for conditions.

The remainin calls were for cars that had gone off the road. “In weather like this, you can’t drive the posted speed limit. Slow down or you will go off the road,” Dye said.

There were reports of a car in a water-filled ditch near New Baden in Clinton County. No further information was immediately available.

Flooded creeks and high water in low-lying areas also is expected. East Highway 50 reportedly is closed between O’Fallon and Lebanon where it crosses over Silver Creek.

There was a report of a vehicle stranded in flood water in 9900 block of Old St. Louis Road near Belleville, according to the St. Clair County Emergency Services Disaster Agency. Another vehicle was stranded in flood waters of Mine Haul Road near Belleville.

Lindenwood University announced that its football game, which was rained out Friday night, has been rescheduled and will be played at noon Sunday.

Some locations that will experience flooding include: Belleville, O`Fallon, East St. Louis, Collinsville, Arnold, Fairview Heights, Cahokia, Swansea, Shiloh, Festus, Union, Waterloo, Columbia, Mascoutah, De Soto, Pevely, Centreville, Crystal City, St. Clair and Lebanon.

This includes the following highways: Interstate 64 in Illinois between exits 9 and 27, Interstate 44 in Missouri between exits 239 and 242, Interstate 55 in Missouri between exits 157 and 190, according to the Weather Service.

This also includes Washington State Park, Mastodon Historic Site, Sandy Creek Covered Bridge Historic Site, and Gov. Dunklin`s Grave Historic Site.

Most high school football games, usually played on Friday nights or Saturday mornings, had already been moved or canceled in anticipation of the heavy rain.

The Weather Service recommends that drivers who encounter flooded roads to the following:

Turn around, most flood deaths occur in vehicles.

Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the dangers of flooding.

The forecast calls for rain to continue Saturday night and into Sunday with a 60 percent chance both days. Temperatures will be in the 60s with overcast skies and breezy conditions.

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