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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Downpour damages downtown Monett

Monday, September 21, 2009

(Photo)
Flood water from Kelly Creek extended from 10th Street to the middle of the block between Third and Fourth Street on Saturday. The old Mansfield's store, at center, had never had water inside of it since the store opened in 1933 at that site until Saturday. Record heights were also seen closer to where Kelly Creek and Clear Creek merge by Highway 60. [Photo by Shaun Bennett, owner Denali Dreams Gallery and Coffee Shop]
A rainstorm that simply would not quit generated a huge flood in Monett on Saturday that lasted longer than any on record. The depth of the flood surpassed major flooding in April 2008 and left significant damage in business and industrial areas of town.

After light showers on Saturday afternoon, rain began falling steadily around 5 p.m. By 7:05 p.m. the water in Kelly Creek had reached the three-foot mark. With rain continuing, dispatching supervisor Bonnie Witt-Schulte had the phone tree activated, alerting property owners along Kelly Creek that problems could occur as the evening progressed.

Checks of the creek showed its depth rising about six inches every 30 minutes. In the meantime, run-off started making subdivision streets impassable. Fire Department Captain Larry Eden reported flooding on South Cedarbrook got firefighters in motion shutting down residential streets.

By 8:24 p.m. Kelly Creek had risen to the top of its banks. The police department issued an evacuation notice for the Marshall Trailer Park on the west side of the Centennial Overpass, the most concentrated and lowest residential area in the traditional flood path.

Water rose quickly after that.

Firefighters on observation at 10th Street and Roosevelt, on the channel where storm water from the high school drains down to Kelly Creek, found themselves trapped. Their fire truck had to be hauled out by a wrecker.

Broadway was closed from 10th Street to Third Street and reached heights unseen by veteran flood watchers. Water could be seen surrounding the U.S. Bank branch at Sixth and Broadway. Youth gathered at The Den in the 400 block had to evacuate.

Water got inside the former Mansfield's store on the north side of the 300 block. A rug placed in front of The Front Page to block the water on the south side of Broadway floated to the north side of the street. Water that deep has not been seen on the north side of the 300 block since photos of the 1919 flood.

Steve Kelley, manager of Westco, on the south side of the 300 block, reported his basement filled and water got into about a third of the first floor through the front door. Water at Bruner's Pharmacy was nearly up to the windows. At The Monett Times office, in the 500 block, water reached two-and-a-half feet above the sidewalk though only a couple inches of water got inside the building.

Contributing to the situation was a logjam that developed downstream at the low water bridge across Farm Road 2000. Witt-Schulte said the Monett Special Road District got a front-end loader to the scene around 11 p.m. and broke up the dam. After that, water began receding downtown.

Water levels got especially high at the Schreiber Foods plant and by Roderick Arms and Tool on Dairy Street. While the cheese processing plant had no water in its parking lot during substantial flooding in April 2008, Witt-Schulte said the water rose halfway up car doors this time. Police called the factory and advised workers they would have to stay in the building.

Flood levels rose on Chapell Drive and County Road, forcing closings. On Eisenhower, high water cut off the Bridgeport subdivision. Water levels were high in so many places, Witt-Schulte said, that city crews ran out of barricades.

Police Officer Jerrod Jarvis waded into waist-deep water at Front and Second Street to rescue several puppies trapped by the high water. The Hydro Aluminum plant had a power outage, one of several around town.

According to the National Weather Service radar, rainfall in Monett measured eight to 10 inches.

Rain gauges around town showed significant variability. At Fourth and Cleveland, a gauge topped six inches. On Circle Drive, the gauge topped 10 inches. In the Lakewood Terrace subdivision, a gauge measured seven inches by 8 p.m.

Firemen and police through the evening had to turn back numerous motorists who drove into flooded areas, not recognizing the danger.

With no barricades on the west end of Broadway after the police car blocking traffic left the scene around midnight, several motorists drove to the middle of the 400 block before turning around. At 12:15 a.m. a van reached the intersection of Fifth and Broadway and firemen finally persuaded the driver to turn.

Firefighters stopped watching Broadway for flooding problems around 2 a.m. after five-and-a-half hours. The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) will have a team in Monett on Tuesday to assess damage, said David Compton, Barry County emergency management director, who spent the evening assisting with the flood response at the Monett Police Station.

Witt-Schulte said it is very important that businesses receiving flood damage contact police at 235-4241 so that a report can be made with SEMA.



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