Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

July 3, 2013

Emergency responders preparing for more rain

Jackson Adams
Daily News

---- — LOUISVILLE — With continued rain falling on Clay County, emergency responders are preparing for more water even with last week’s rains becoming a memory.

Steve Lewis of the Clay County Emergency & Service Disaster Agency said rain has been continuous but hasn’t caused many problems in the county over the past few days.

”We’re getting plenty of it, that’s for sure,” he said. “So far it hasn’t been too bad. The roads that normally flood when it rains are but we’re not getting any flooding like we did last week.”

Last week’s rains brought more than 4 inches of water in a matter of hours to parts of Clay County, flooding streets and seeping into homes and businesses. Lewis said continued increases in water could cause problems with overflow having nowhere to go in already full ditches, creeks and rivers.

”If it keeps up, that water’s going to run out,” he said. “It won’t have anywhere to go. We’re just keeping an eye on it and keeping in touch with the weather service, making sure it doesn’t get any worse. Other than that, it’s just waiting and seeing.”

Since Sunday, Clay County has already received more than 4 inches of rain and meterologists are expecting more from a slow moving clash of high and low systems outside of St. Louis to continue to cause severe weather.

”We’ve got showers and thunderstorms moving up into the Clay County area,” said Ernie Goetsch of the National Weather Service. “That system is sort of triggering the precipitation in the area. It’s predicted to move very slowly into the west, into Missouri. We’re going to have periods of precipitations in that area tapering off and ending on Thursday.”

Goetsch said the chance for a flash flood in the area are possible, especially with a storm moving so slowly and capable of staying over an area for a long period of time.

”It’s very possible,” he said. “If we have some of the stronger ones to sit over one area for a length of time, they may put down an inch or more of rain in a short period.”

So far this week, the Clay County Sheriff’s Department hasn’t needed to help anyone because of the heavy rains.

“We went out and checked some high water places,” said Sheriff James Sulsberger. “It seems like it’s been raining a lot but steady. We haven’t heard of any major problems.”

Sulsberger said the sheriff’s department will be prepared to follow plans set forth by the ESDA in case of any flooding emergency.

“Steve and his guys do a heck of a job and we kind of depend on them and proceed accordingly,” he said.

For now, Lewis said the plan is to wait and find out exactly what the weather has in store.

“You can’t stop Mother Nature, that’s for sure,” he said.

Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.