Daylong rains saturated southwest Missouri from a band of storms that by evening stretched from the Arkansas line north to Kansas City. Heavy rains in the late afternoon began to flood streets. Cars were reported stalled in the 400 block of Primrose, in the Bridgeport subdivision, and at Sixth and Boys during the 5 p.m. hour.
Kelly Creek started marching upward as the evening progressed. According to the police department log, the creek showed a depth of three feet at 4:45 p.m., three and a half feet at 5:30 p.m., and four and a half feet at 5:47 p.m. at Fifth Street.
Then the rise slacked off, reported Bonnie Witt-Schulte, dispatching supervisor. Kyler and Highway 60 saw enough water over the road at 6 p.m. to require emergency vehicles to move into position to close the road. In most residential areas prone to flooding, street signs declaring roads closed during high water now made it unnecessary to post barricades.
While water levels in town were holding, reports came in from the countryside about increasing problems. At 6:57 p.m. water from Clear Creek downstream from Monett swamped over the approaches to Highway 97 in Pierce City.
Around 8:20 p.m. a car stalled at Farm Roads 1090 and 2200 by the bridge in Freistatt. At Farm Road 1100 and 2020, two people were trapped in their vehicle by rising water. Dispatchers were able to convince the motorists to climb onto the roof of the vehicle and get out of the flood zone on foot while firemen stood by to assist.
By 8 p.m. Kelly Creek had reached its rim as water slapped the underside of bridges going through town. At that level, storm sewers begin to backflow, losing the ability to drain. Yet it was not until 8:20 p.m. that water came out of the creek bank at the Marshall Trailer Park, on the west side of the Centennial Overpass on 12th Street.
At 8:53 p.m. water began to fill Broadway. Instead of overflowing 10th Street, as it has in the past two floods, the water level gradually rose at Eighth Street and points west for three blocks. At Sixth and Broadway the street took a good 10 minutes to fill, rising over the curb only about three inches at first.
There the water level held for close to three hours. Firemen parked a pumper truck at the Fifth and Broadway intersection, backing up only once as the creek inched a bit higher. The middle of the intersection remained high ground where the firemen could stand and watch. Water poured around the front of the Monett Times building from Sixth Street and back toward the creek on Fifth, but did not top the curb on the south side of Broadway between Fourth and Fifth streets.
Fire Chief Tom Jones ordered some residents to be removed from the American Legion Home, where they had taken refuge, in the 9 p.m. hour. Jones did not want to put his men in danger should the refugees decide they wanted to leave if and when the water reached a precarious level.
Chunks of wood debris could be seen floating downstream through the night. A number of residents came down to Broadway as the evening progressed to watch the water. Despite a few early reports of children disappearing from view, causing firemen to send extra people down on Front Street as a precaution, no serious trouble developed.
Street department crews, who moved city vehicles from the street barn at Sixth and Front streets between 8:30 and 9 p.m., called it a night at 12 a.m.
At 5 a.m. Kelly Creek remained at the six-foot level, practically at flood stage in case of another downpour.
A rain gauge at Fourth and Cleveland put rainfall at 4.1 inches by 7:30 p.m. By the time rain stopped the gauge measured a total of seven inches afdter midnight.
Flooding has caused problems around the area. In Mt. Vernon, rising water was threatening the shutdown of a major electric substation this morning which would disrupt service as Apple Butter Makin' Days begins.