Weather service reminds drivers to avoid flooded areas

By Dena Sloan

Globe Staff Writer

While rain remains in the forecast for today and Wednesday, officials say the worst of the soggy weather is moving out.

Rains on Sunday and Monday dropped 2.97 inches on Joplin, 3 inches on Neosho and 3.7 inches on Monett, said Steve Runnels, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield.

The weather service issued flash-flood warnings for much of Southwest Missouri early Monday morning, but later in the day downgraded the warnings in many counties, including Jasper, Newton and McDonald.

"The worst is over for those communities," Runnels said.

Officials in a number of area towns reported high creek levels and some water on streets. Road flooding was reported in a number of areas, including near the intersection of Highway 96 and Route 0 near Oronogo, Cedar Road east of Wentworth, and in Pineville, Mount Vernon and Cassville.

High water on Blankenship Hollow Road, west of Pineville, kept a McDonald County school bus from following its regular route Monday, said Gayle Brock, a county commissioner. Brock said he recorded 4.5 inches of rain at his home near Anderson.

Runnels said Monday that the rain had not resulted in any reported deaths or injuries, but that water rescues were required in Greene and Douglas counties after vehicles were swept off low-water bridges.

"The advice from the National Weather Service is whenever you see water over a low-water crossing, turn around and seek a safer route," he said.

"It takes less than 2 feet of water to lift a vehicle off the ground and ... float off into the creek. At that point in time, you're looking at a potentially deadly situation."

Creeks running through Anderson were full Monday, said City Clerk Nancy Call, and city workers were monitoring them to make sure problems didn't develop.

Heavy rainfall also swamped some sewer systems. In Carl Junction, City Clerk Maribeth Matney said city workers were keeping an eye on the wastewater plant after an influx of rainwater.

Infiltration can cause algae buildup in wastewater lagoons.

Staff writer John Hacker contributed to this report.

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