Massive amounts of rain caused problems across the metro-east Friday.
Steady rain caused flooding, the collapse of trees, power lines to fall and the canopy over a Belleville gas station to topple under the weight of water.
The National Weather Service issued a flash-flood warning for the metro-east until 4:30 p.m. Nearly 2.3 inches of rain fell on St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia during the morning and midday hours Friday, according to reports published on the NWS website.
According to Belleville Fire Department assistant chief Bud Jacobs, the canopy structure over the gas pumps at a service station in the 9600 block of West Main Street collapsed under the weight of water and landed on a car.
No one was hurt in the incident, but a truck was damaged.
Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said problems with the awning at the Shell station were brought to the city’s attention by a resident about two weeks ago. City personnel investigated and sent a letter to the property owner, stating repairs were needed.
“Apparently, that hadn’t happened and the storm water was too much,” Eckert said. “They’ve not been really good stewards.”
Roads under water
St. Clair County Emergency Management Director Herb Simmons said a number of area roads were under flood water.
“We have quite a few of them, especially in the Lebanon, New Athens and East Carondelet area,” Simmons said.
Illinois 15 was covered by more than a foot of water at Karch Road between Freeburg and Fayetteville.
Old Illinois 158 was impassable just before noon near Mascoutah between Illinois 161 and Illinois 177 because of water over the roadway.
A heavy stream of water was reported to be flowing across Greenmount Road at Weatherstone Drive and on Stephens Street in Belleville.
In New Athens, there was 3 feet of water reported on Illinois 13 at Spotsylvania Road, according to Simmons.
In Shiloh, Ganim Road and Christy Lane in the Richland Prairie subdivision were also covered with standing water.
Scott Air Force Base security was allowing traffic to exit only through the Belleville gate. Exit lanes at other gates were under standing water.
Power lines down, cars submerged
The Signal Hill Fire Department at about 12:45 p.m. responded to an incident on Concord Drive near Belleville where they found power lines to be down and part of the road had collapsed.
About 15 minutes earlier, Signal Hill firefighters were busy with a report that a vehicle was submerged in water on Old St. Louis Road. The driver was attempting to swim to safety.
Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing said there are “numerous places” on Illinois 3, Illinois 156 and Illinois 159 that were under water shortly before noon.
“This will be a problem for traveling motorists throughout the day, so please use caution on the roadways,” Rohlfing said.
The Belleville Fire Department at about 9:30 a.m. got a call about a transformer explosion and fire on 98th Street.
Jacobs said a water-logged tree fell on the transformer to cause the problems.
“Sometimes when you have an old dead tree, especially if it has a hole in it, it fills up, gets water-logged and falls over,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said the transformer was still carrying partial power. According to Ameren Illinois, there were only a handful of power outages scattered across the metro-east Friday morning. There were none reported in Belleville.
Up to 4 inches of rain was expected to fall on the area Friday, thanks to the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill.
Butch Dye, of the National Weather Service, said at about 11 a.m. Friday that the area could still see up to three more inches of rain before the remnants of Bill leave the area.
As of Friday morning, the June rainfall total stood at 7.71 inches, measured at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis.
“The normal average for June is 2.69 inches, so we’re already 5.02 inches above that with more rain on the way,” Dye said.
Three more inches of rain would put the total for the month well over 10.5 inches.
As of mid-morning Friday, rain was limiting visibility in addition to causing standing water on roadways.
Illinois State Police commander Joe Kollins said motorists need to use extra caution as they travel during this dangerous storm.
Here are some tips Kollins offered:
▪ Make sure your vehicle is prepared for wet weather by checking your tires, brakes and windshield wipers to be sure they are in good condition.
▪ Turn on your headlights so other motorists can see you. It’s Illinois law that when you have your wipers on, your headlights must be on, too.
▪ Take your time. Driving slower is safer during challenging conditions.
▪ Increase your following distance. Wet roads are slick so it takes a longer distance to stop.
▪ Don’t try to drive through deep or rushing water. A foot of standing water can cause your vehicle to stall, two feet of rushing water can sweep it away.
Flooding was causing already over-filled area rivers and streams to spill over their banks.
As of Friday morning, the Mississippi River was at 34.6 feet at the St. Louis riverfront. It is expected to break the threshold of moderate flood stage, 35 feet, later in the day on its way to a crest of 36.7 feet on Sunday and Monday.
That would be the second-highest crest at St. Louis since 2010. The only time it has been higher was when it reached 40.52 feet on June 4, 2013. The river has only reached 36.7 feet or deeper 18 times dating back to 1785.
Rain was expected to continue Friday night with the low temperature dropping to 69.
The wet weather was expected to come to a merciful end during weekend.
Rain was predicted to taper off around midnight Friday. The forecast called for skies to be mostly sunny Saturday when the high will be 88.
It will be partly cloudy Saturday night with a low of 75.
Thunderstorms are again possible on Sunday, when the high will be 92. There is a 30 percent chance of wet weather during the day and into the evening, with a low of 74.
List of flooded roads in St. Clair County:
▪ Illinois 4 north of Lebanon
▪ Illinois 4 about ¼ miles north of Mascoutah
▪ Illinois 15 at Mueller Lane in Fayetteville
▪ Illinois 15 at Karch Road between Freeburg and Fayetteville
▪ Illinois 15 at Lonestar Rd in Freeburg
▪ Greenmount Rd. and Weatherstone Dr (Belleville)
▪ 25th Street at Waverly in East St Louis
▪ West Blvd at Shady Lane near Belleville is flooded and a tree has fallen across the roadway
▪ Illinois 13 at Spotsylvania in New Athens
▪ Ganim Rd in Shiloh
▪ Christy Lane in Shiloh
▪ Stephens St in Belleville
▪ 5300 block of Summit Ave in East St Louis
▪ Davis Street Ferry Rd in East Carondelet
▪ Scott Air Force Base security was only allowing people to exit through the Belleville gate. Exit lanes at the other gates were flooded.
▪ Illinois 3, Illinois 156 and Illinois 159 in Monroe county had water over the road in numerous places, according to the sheriff’s department.
▪ S. 11th Street was underwater in Belleville just south of Illinois 15.
List of flooded roads in Monroe County:
▪ Brickey Road east of LL Road
▪ Bluff Road at KK. Road
▪ Bluff Road at Fults
▪ Fults Road