Early spring storms bring flood of water to Callaway

Drivers pass through a large puddle on Wood Street on Thursday after an morning thunderstorm. A Fulton City employee posted a “Water Over Road” sign to warn drivers to pass slowly over the puddle.

Drivers pass through a large puddle on Wood Street on Thursday after an morning thunderstorm. A Fulton City employee posted a “Water Over Road” sign to warn drivers to pass slowly over the puddle. Photo by Brittany Ruess.

Callaway County was pummeled with rain Thursday, resulting in lots of water but only two major road closures as city and county crews worked to keep roads passable.

Callaway County Emergency Management Director Michelle Kidwell said many roadways were swamped with water early — she described several, including Wood Street, as rivers — but as of Thursday afternoon much of that water had receded, and there had been no major incidents as a result.

“We did have some slide-offs, but no injuries,” Kidwell said.

Fulton City Engineer Greg Hayes said heavy rains Wednesday night and Thursday morning caused streams and creeks throughout the city to flow over, but city crews were busy clearing grates and ditches of debris to prevent major flooding.

“We’re assigning staff to different quadrants of the city to clear off grates and culverts,” Hayes said. “As calls come in … we’re taking care of them as fast as we can get to them.”

He suggested Fulton residents could help those efforts by taking matters into their own hands.

“If you see your storm sewer stopped up and have a rake, see if you can loosen it up and get it unclogged,” Hayes said.

Part of Wood Street was shut off Thursday around noon, which Hayes attributed to a significant clog. He said the city had hoped to clear the clog using the city’s flusher truck, but the truck broke down and was unable to produce enough pressure to clear the line. The truck is being serviced.

Court Street resident Kate Keith said her street “looked like a river and sounded like a river” Thursday night after another round of heavy rainfall after 6 p.m., noting that her gravel driveway had been washed away and her basement had flooded.

“The runoff on one side of the street looks fine, but the other side it’s just pooling,” she said.

Keith said she planned to contact the city today about fixing the problem.

That same round left St. Eunice “impassable” according to scanner traffic.

With rain scheduled to continue through Thursday night with the possibility of more flooding, Hayes asked Fulton residents to heed warning signs and drive safely.

“I would discourage anyone from going around our barricades, and definitely don’t try to drive through water where you can’t see the road,” Hayes said.

Callaway County Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann said the story was similar throughout the county — with county roads 2002 and 1068 closed due to flooding near bridges over creeks on those roadways.

“We’ve got a lot of washouts — on County Road 361 there’s a culvert that was partially washed out and we had to dig it up and put it back in,” Jungermann said, noting there often are problems with big storms this early in the spring because of brush and yard debris. “Elsewhere we’re looking pretty good so far, just a little washouts. As the weather moves through we’ll get out to take care of those.”

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