Metro-East News

With less rain, crews turn attention to cresting water levels

Basement and street flooding in Washington Park

Aaron Loveless talks about his flooded basement in Washington Park Sunday. Torrential rains lingered in the metro-east this weekend, causing flash flooding and road closures.
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Aaron Loveless talks about his flooded basement in Washington Park Sunday. Torrential rains lingered in the metro-east this weekend, causing flash flooding and road closures.

As a long weekend storm tapered Sunday, the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency shifted its attention to potential river flooding from four to seven inches of rain that fell in some areas.

The Mississippi River was expected to crest at major flood stage at 40.1 feet Wednesday morning, the St. Clair County EMA posted to its Facebook page after a conference call with the National Weather Service on Sunday afternoon.

The Kaskaskia River was also close to record major flooding in Vandalia, but Carlyle Lake wasn’t expected to have a large effect on downstream St. Clair County, the EMA wrote.

“We will continue to work with the National Weather Service and the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure the most current information is relayed,” the St. Clair County EMA wrote.

The Illinois River at Hardin, Illinois was also forecast to reach major flood level, said Fred Glass, the senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

River flooding usually occurs a few days after major rain, Glass said. The first phase, flash flooding, occurs when initial heavy rain overwhelms creeks and streams. Later, that water finds its way into larger waterways. When those areas swell, usually one to four days later, flooding occurs.

When water levels reach major flooding stages, it can be particularly hazardous to infrastructure, Glass said.

The weekend rains that drenched the St. Louis region caused no major emergency problems except for a vehicle rescue in Centreville and an 8-year-old boy who was saved after he was sucked into a drain pipe, Brian Whitaker of the St. Clair County EMA said. The boy was found unharmed in a manhole on the other side of a retention basin’s levee.

An 8-year-old boy was rescued from a flooded drain pipe in O'Fallon after he was sucked into the rushing water.

Flooding also closed many roads throughout Missouri and in Illinois.

Missouri closed 362 roads, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation, including Interstate 44 between Lebanon and Rolla, which was closed on Sunday afternoon. That road is not expected to open until later in the week.

Locally, the Illinois Department of Transportation closed US 50, which links O’Fallon and Lebanon, Sunday afternoon, and it was unknown then when the road would open. IDOT could not be reached Sunday evening.

Authorities also closed roads in Belleville, Mascoutah, Caseyville, Centreville, Freeburg and St. Libory.

Nearly 2,000 people were without power for a few hours Sunday afternoon after the storm knocked a tree onto a power line, according to Ameren. The power failure, which lasted from 1:40 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., affected customers in East St. Louis, Belleville and Centreville.

The rain also caused the St. Clair County Law Day Run to be canceled.

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, a hazardous weather outlook from the National Weather Service that included possible flash flooding was in effect until 1 a.m. Monday.

Reporters Kelsey Landis and Mike Koziatek contributed to this report.

Casey Bischel: 618-239-2655, @CaseyBischel

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