Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Sunday as rain continues to pour on Missouri. With less than a week left of the year, 2015 is officially the state’s wettest year on record.
Evacuation In West Alton
Widespread flooding throughout the area led officials in West Alton to plea for residents to evacuate. citizens of West Alton were warned of rising water, but the evacuation is not mandatory.
“Do not delay!!” wrote Chief Richard Pender of the Rivers Pointe Fire Protection District, “the latest river forecast is 38.9 feet. This will put the river level 4 feet 9 inches above our levee protection. Start to make your preparations now.”
The reason the city officials have not made the evacuation mandatory is “because there are some here who lived through (the flood of) 1993 and they have prepared their houses for flooding, minor or major.”
Throughout Missouri, heavy rain has pushed creeks and rivers out of their banks, leading to the deaths of at least eight people.
I-70 in St. Charles Closed through Monday Morning
Meanwhile, St. Charles Executive Steve Ehlmann declared a state of Missouri for his county. Interstate 70 was closed in both directions due to water over the traffic lanes.
The Missouri Department of Transportation announced Sunday that both directions of I-70 in St. Charles will remain closed throughout tomorrow morning.
Both directions of I-70 in St Charles County remain closed. All Lanes Expected to Remain Closed for Monday Morning Rush Hour.
— MoDOT (@MoDOT) December 28, 2015
The rain is expected to continue through Monday, with an additional three inches of rain to fall on the St. Louis area. View other Missouri Road closures and plan your route before you drive to work tomorrow.
Flooding Deaths in Missouri and Illinois
As of Sunday evening, at least eleven people have died in the weekend flooding in Missouri and Illinois.
Pulaski County Sherrif Ronald Long told Fox 2 Now that at least six people died in two different accidents in which cars were driving through floodwaters, and were swept away. Specifics of the accidents have not been released.
Authorities are still searching for a fifth person who was in one of the vehicles.
Late Saturday night, five people were killed just outside of Patoka Illinois when swollen East Fork Creek carried a vehicle traveling to Minnesota off of a bridge.
Driving in Flooded Missouri Roads
Flooding deaths typically occur when people drive into flood waters. Drivers may not realize how high the water really is, and drive into it. With all of the dangers that accompany a heavy rainfall, it is crucial to take precautions before driving in these conditions.
- Know before you go: Watch the news or check online to verify that your route has not been compromised by flooding. MoDOT’s website has a list of road closures you can view here.
- Know your area: Unfortunately, given the Christmas holiday, many drivers may be from out of town. If you don’t know your area, a GPS device can be helpful if you find your route to be blocked by water. Your GPS can provide a quick alternative.
- Obey Traffic Signs and Barricades: They’re there for a reason. Do NOT attempt to drive around signs and barriers. Look at your surroundings. If a “water over roadway” sign is present, even if it is not on your exact route, use extreme caution. It is possible that crews have not yet arrived to shut down the road.
- Leave your Car Behind: Humans are dangerously optimistic. If your car stalls or becomes stuck in the rising water, get out of the car. Your life is more important than your vehicle. Staying in the car during a flood often leads to fatalities when the vehicle becomes swept away by water. Leave your car immediately, and head to higher ground.
- Be extra cautious at night: Judging the water during the daytime is hard enough, but at night, it could be impossible. Drive slowly when flooding is present.
- Don’t drive at all: Stay home if at all possible. It’s much safer to wait out the storm.
Though many skilled drivers believe they can navigate through a flooded street, please consider that it takes very little water to cause a driver to lose control. As little as an inch of standing water can cause your car to hydroplane into oncoming traffic, or off the road entirely, and only six inches of water can push your vehicle off the roadway.
Your car can float on as little as two feet of water.
If you are Injured by a Flooding Accident
While most flooding accidents are separate, single-vehicle accidents, we always recommend calling a personal injury lawyer after a wreck. Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers offers free consultations to anyone who calls our office, and even if you don’t hire us, a personal injury consultation may be able to help give you an idea of what to expect during the claims process.
For a free consultation, call 314-444-4444 anytime.