Lincoln County, Mo. - Torrential rain throughout Lincoln County led to an eventful weekend for first responders in the area.
“We definitely had our hands full,” said Winfield-Foley Fire Protection District Fire Chief Arron Lee, whose department handled a multitude of water rescues over a two-day period of storms on June 26 and June 27.
Nearly 12 inches of rain fell in the Winfield area during those two days, and the WFFPD rescued two people and a canine at North Lindsey Road, a mother and her four children from swift water on Sand Run Road – and a person stranded in a tree on Mette Road.
The WFFPD also assisted Lincoln County Fire Protection District 1, as well as other departments throughout the area on calls during the weekend.
“There were a multitude of scenarios we heard during our rescues as to how they became stranded,” Lee said.
On the other side of the county, LCFPD1 conducted water rescues along Big Creek, particularly Highway J and Meyers Road.
LCFPD1 rescued 15 people from their vehicles, three people from their homes and three canines. Assistant Chief Robert Shramek also reported around 12 inches of rain fell during the same amount of time.
“Most of those cases (of stranded motorists) came where they were driving, and they thought they could make it,” he said. “The other one was a gentleman who was taking an alternative route, and he wasn’t familiar with the area.”
Though his department didn’t have to deal with any fires due to lightning, Shramek said not all local departments were so lucky.
“We were extremely lucky we didn’t have any fires due to lightning strikes,” he said. “Warrenton had a fire that Hawk Point had to respond to due to lightning strikes.”
Despite all the rain the area received over such period of time, new Lincoln County Emergency Management Floodplain Administrator Quentin Laws said he doesn’t believe the weather is all that abnormal.
“I do not believe the weather is unusual,” said Laws, who joined LCEMA June 7. “The National Weather Service has said this rain event is due to a stalled front over the Midwest, and it is expected to move on by (July 4 weekend).”
Laws went on to say roads are still out at the moment, and the flooding has caused some damage, but it will be some time before the full extent of damage is known.
“The extent of damage inside the county is mostly limited to roadway issues, several roads have been de-graveled, and several low water crossings are still out at the moment,” he said. “Some homes had water in them, but it was limited. As for crops and farms, we have no reports of damage.
“The next steps in planning is going over the roads and seeing the amount of damage and how much it will cost to repair.”
Though the forecast is calling for better weather on the horizon, Lee warns drivers in the future to slow down in bad weather and if torrential rains hit Lincoln County again, “turn around, don’t drown.”
“Anytime you have that kind of torrential rainfall in that short period of time, you’re going to have flooding,” he said. “If I have to tell anybody anything, slow down.
“If the speed limit’s 55 miles per hour, drive 35. Just be careful.”