Truck attempts to drive through flooded section of US 50
Flooding from weekend rains continued to threaten communities across Missouri and Illinois on Tuesday.
U.S. 50 west of Lebanon, which closed Sunday as a result of flooding at Silver Creek, was to remain closed, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which said it would check and review the condition of the road Wednesday morning.
IDOT received several calls about U.S. 50 on Tuesday from people who thought it looked OK to travel on, the agency said. Callers west of the shutdown reported that the road looked drivable, but from the east side there was still water. Even if there weren’t any water, though, crews would still have to scrape off the mud, re-grade the shoulders, and check the road’s infrastructure, IDOT said.
The St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency expected another two inches of rain to fall Tuesday night through Thursday, it announced on its Facebook page after a Tuesday afternoon conference call with the National Weather Service.
Because of additional rains, the National Weather Service issued a new flash-flood watch, which will go into effect at 1 a.m. Wednesday and last through Thursday afternoon.
The Mississippi and Kaskaskia Rivers were expected to crest Friday, the St. Clair County EMA said, though the crests were “significantly lower” than those experienced in the floods of December 2015.
With new rain, roads that had reopened might have water on them again, the EMA said.
The Missouri Department of Transportation announced Tuesday afternoon that it will close Interstate 55, Lemay Ferry Road and Telegraph Road overnight due to rising water levels in the Meramec River.
Other routes that were closed or would close Tuesday afternoon in Missouri included:
▪ I-44 in St. Louis/Franklin counties between I-270 and Missouri 100
▪ I-44 between St. Roberts and Lebanon
▪ Missouri 141 at I-44 in St. Louis County
▪ Missouri 30/Gravois in St. Louis County at Meramec River
▪ Missouri 21/Tesson Ferry in St. Louis County at Meramec River and Missouri 141 at Route 21
▪ Missouri 109 in Eureka in St. Louis County, overnight
▪ Missouri 63 near Vienna, between Rolla and Jefferson City
▪ Missouri 50 at Mount Sterling in Gasconade County
The Red Cross of St. Louis opened several shelters in the region, including one in Granite City, which accepted 11 people for shelter, according to Peggy Barnhart, who works at the Red Cross.
The group of people was evacuated from a trailer park by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency around 3:30 p.m. Monday, Barnhart said.
The shelter will be open “until everybody has a place to go,” she said. The Mississippi River was expected to crest Wednesday.
The number of people at the shelter will likely increase, Barnhart said. Evacuees usually go to a friend’s or family member’s house for a few days, but as it becomes more difficult to host them, guests go to the Red Cross.
Police in both Illinois and Missouri reported they’ve had to rescue a number of motorists from vehicles in water.
Perry County Sheriff Steve Bareis said deputies in his Southern Illinois county have responded to three water rescues in the past three days. Bareis added that high waters in flood plains have displaced large numbers of deer, so drivers should be on the lookout, especially at night.
Ameren Illinois moved mobile substations into place ahead of potential power outages, including one substation in Murphysboro.
Around 11:30 a.m., the St. Louis County Police warned reporters covering the flooding in Eureka, Missouri, to take shelter at a funeral home as water levels rose. At 2:30 on Tuesday, police advised that the town needs no more volunteers to fight the flood.
Fox 2 captured footage of someone who drove through a flooded section of Interstate 44.
Anheuser-Busch announced that it planned to give 150,000 cans of water to areas affected by flooding. They will be dispersed through the Red Cross.
In Southern Illinois, county leaders in Franklin and Jackson counties proclaimed states of disaster there Monday and Tuesday, respectively, according to the Southern Illinoisan. And about 180 students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale had to be relocated after their dormitory took on eight to 12 inches of rain.
The Army Corps of Engineers wrote in a news release Monday that Carlyle Lake was expected to crest Friday, but the dam was “operating as designed” and alleviating some flooding on the Mississippi and Kaskaskia Rivers.
Because of the lake’s water levels, the Corps warned about boating near submerged structures and reminded boaters to watch out for debris. Three boat ramps were affected by the rising water Tuesday, including the Patoka, Allen Branch and Peppenhorst ramps.
High ramps still open for launching Tuesday included Dam West, Dam East, Coles Creek, Tamalco, Apaches and Boulder, the Corps said.