The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


June 12, 2007

Rain swamps businesses, cars

Thunderstorm stalls over city,

overwhelming swollen creeks

By Wally Kennedy and Derek Spellman

A thunderstorm that stalled Tuesday over Joplin caused Joplin Creek to surge out of its banks, flooding stalled vehicles and forcing the evacuation of businesses near Eighth Street and Illinois Avenue.

Dr. Melvin Elledge, an 80-year-old podiatrist with an office at 734 S. Illinois Ave., said: “The girls in the beauty salon next door told me they were leaving because water was coming in their front door. I went to the back door, and it was coming in.

“The police were there. I don’t walk as good as I used to, so they picked me up and carried me out. They said if I didn’t get out, then I would have to swim out later.”

The National Weather Service station in Springfield said between 2 and 5 inches of rain fell over Joplin within a couple of hours Tuesday.

City officials said they were surveying streets and bridges for damage.

Joplin firefighters and police helped dozens of people get to higher ground as the torrent rose around Joplin Plaza, Vatterott College and the Cinema 6 theaters.

The creek, which drains much of east Joplin, flooded several streets leading to Campbell Parkway, including Connecticut Avenue. Also flooded was Murphy Boulevard in Ewert Park.

Flooding intensified near Fourth Street and Murphy Boulevard, where Willow Branch flows into Joplin Creek. The branch, which drains

much of west Joplin, flows under the downtown. Water from Willow Branch and Joplin Creek put much of Landreth Park under water.

‘Worst place’

Greg Edster, manager of G&H; Redi-Mix, 520 S. Murphy Blvd., and some co-workers were caught in the high water.

“We went to a building across the street to move some furniture,” he said. “When we got there, the water was a couple of inches deep. A couple of minutes later, there was 3 feet of water in that building. It came up in seconds. We were swimming in it.

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