Flooding leads to rescue efforts in Cassville

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Flooding in the city of Cassville forced city police to close a portion of Main Street on Tuesday. Conditions are not expected to improve until the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

8 needing to be saved from high water Tuesday morning

As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, the Barry County Sheriff's Office had to rescue eight people from high water, as flooding in and around the city of Cassville became dangerous.

According to Mick Epperly, Barry County sheriff, two people were rescued from the Ozark Area Community Action Corporation Neighborhood Center on Highway 248.

Cassville's city park baseball fields and other portions of the park were under water on Tuesday, as 3-7 inches of rain fell in Barry County Tuesday morning. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

"I was wading in water up above my knees to get them," he said.

Five people were rescued from a home near the Cassville city park, as Flat Creek is well above its banks and causing flooding throughout the park and nearby shopping centers on Highway 248 and Route 76. One other person had to be rescued from flooding on Mineral Springs Road.

"We've got the rescue boat out here from the Department of Conservation, and we have our Hummer we have been using to get people," Epperly said. "We've had water up to the floorboards in it. If anyone needs to be rescued or is in danger, they should call 911 immediately."

Steve Walensky, Cassville Public Works director, said the city is in flooding conditions and is doing all it can to combat the high water.

"We are in flooding conditions and have run out of barricades, and it keeps getting worse and worse," he said. "We could be in flooding conditions for two days. I advise people to stay home or go home if they can."

Det. Danny Boyd, with the Cassville Police Department, said flooding has caused road closures on portions of Main Street, Fair Street, 13th Street, Route 76 and Highway 248. The Highway Department has closed Route U at Flat Creek near McDowell, Highway 39 at Flat Creek near Jenkins and Highway 112 at Roaring River.

Gene Hatch, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, said Barry County has seen anywhere from 3-7 inches of rain. According to a National Weather Service report, Shell Knob has seen 5.61 inches of rainfall since midnight, flooding the basement of at least one home.

"Because of the heavy rainfall in such a short period of time, Flat Creek and Roaring River have risen extremely rapidly," he said. "A report from a park service employee at Roaring River said the river rose 4-6 feet in just 10 minutes, so they began evacuating everyone this morning."

Hatch said the park reported getting all the people out of the park, but not everyone's camping gear or equipment.

A fire truck turns onto Route 76 Tuesday, heading toward areas of the city dealing with flooding. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

"We are still watching Flat Creek," he said. "In Galena, it has risen to over 17 feet."

Hatch said although conditions are poor now, meteorologists are hoping to see a break soon.

"The rain north of Roaring River and Cassville is beginning to let up and should come to an end over the next hour," he said. "But, we are expecting additional rainfall overnight, and some areas in Barry County may see another 1-4 inches."

Hatch said it may take until the end of the week for the water to recede, as there is potential for additional rainfall through Thursday morning, but not as heavy.

"This weekend, a high pressure system will move in, so we shouldn't have any more rain, but temperatures will get into the low 90s, so it will be very humid and sticky," he said.

Hatch warned those traveling to steer clear of high water, especially over the roadways.

"If anyone is traveling and sees water over the road, please heed the 'turn around, don't drown' warning, as it only takes 6 inches of water to push a car off the road," he said. "With the terrain we have in southwest Missouri, water can rise very quickly and without notice."

Epperly said the Family Life Center is open for people who are dealing with flooding in their homes, and his office has called the American Red Cross to come help families in need.

Water rose to the bottom of the door of a van Tuesday morning in Cassville, as flooding conditions forced the closure of a portion of Main Street. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

Barry County remains under a flash flood warning in effect until 3 p.m.

Cassville is CLOSED! Do NOT come to Cassville!

Posted by Barry County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Shop maybe a little behind after all this.

Posted by Scott Lowe on Tuesday, July 7, 2015

M hwy at Rock Creek is underwater.

Posted by Barry County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, July 7, 2015

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