Flooding is becoming an increasing problem in Southern Missouri where heavy rains continue to fall on already soaked ground.
Interstate 44 has been closed at the 172 mile marker at Rolla. Capt. Lee Ann H. Kenley, commanding officer of Troop I Headquarters, says both eastbound and westbound lanes are closed until further notice. Missouri Department of Transportation personnel have established the following detour: U.S. Highway 60 to Cabool, MO, to U.S. Highway 63 to Rolla, MO, then back, to Interstate 44.
The Highway Patrol tells Missourinet that MoDOT is still working on setting up detours and warns the public that road closures are expected to be changing throughout the day as waters continue to rise. (Scroll down for more details on the flood situation.)
In case of an emergency, motorists can dial *55 on any mobile phone to reach the Patrol headquarters nearest to them, or they can call 1-800-525-5555.
The Patrol is asking motorists to not take any chances and to never cross a water-covered road.
From MoDOT: Floodwaters from the Gasconade River have closed all lanes of Interstate 44 from mile marker 172 to mile marker 186 near Jerome in Phelps County. Motorists and commercial motor carriers traveling eastbound on I-44 are asked to exit at mile marker 69 and take Route 360 to Route 60 at Springfield to Route 63 at Cabool to get back on to I-44 at Rolla. Travelers westbound on I-44 should take Route 63 at Rolla to Route 60 at Cabool to Route 360 to get back on to I-44 west of Springfield.
The Missouri Department of Transportation has put up barriers at the closures, as well as signs to mark the detours.
“We will continue to monitor these areas until the floodwaters recede,” said MoDOT Central District Engineer David Silvester.
Drivers are encouraged to check MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map (above) at www.modot.org, or call the department’s toll free number, 1-888-ASK-MODOT, to get updated information on road conditions.
Motorists should take extra care in their travels during this time and never attempt to get around roadway barricades or drive across flooded roadways. MoDOT also recommends allowing extra travel time if detours are necessary.
Governor Nixon’s office reports that marine operations troopers, a rescue helicopter and others have been deployed to assist local emergency responders. The State Emergency Management Agency is actively monitoring conditions.
As of this morning, another two to five inches of rain has soaked the area.
Nixon’s previously scheduled emergency roundtable in Waynesville has been postponed as state and local emergency management personnel continue to respond to dangerous flooding in south central Missouri.
Yesterday, the Governor declared a state of emergency after heavy rains led to flash flooding and at least one death in the Waynesville area when a 4-year-old little boy was in a car that was overcome by floodwaters. His body was later found in Mitchell Creek.
Nixon is asking residents of flood-affected areas of southern Missouri to pay close attention to weather warnings and follow the safety instructions of local officials as the potential for additional dangerous flooding continues. Missourians, especially motorists, are encouraged to remember these important safety tips on flooding and high water:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups. Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, don’t try it. Water hides dips in the road. Worse yet, there may be no road at all under the water. Flooding can scour away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath.