Sedalia, Pettis County declared disaster area

Dave Williams operates a mini excavator while Kelly Williams directs oncoming vehicles on the bridge on McGee Road early Thursday morning. The box culvert saw much of the gravel wash away due to the six to seven inches of rain that fell on Wednesday.

A a tree fell into Spring fork Creek on South Grand Avenue as a result of the recent heavy rains. County works had cut the tree into sections early Thursday morning to clear the bridges for vehicles.

A section of the bridge on Grand Avenue over Spring fork Creek was damaged after a tree fell on it Wednesday night. After workers removed the tree the bridge was open for traffic.

Accumulated tree roots and debris remain after county crew workers cleared the bridge over Spring Fork Creek on Thursday morning.

A fallen tree covers a portion of the roadway on Covered Bridge Road. The tree had downed power lines but it was not know of area residents living nearby had lost their electric service.

City and county officials have declared a state of emergency in Sedalia and Pettis County in the aftermath of a strong storm Wednesday night, that brought torrential rain and high winds to the area, flooding streets, intersections and washing out some bridges throughout Sedalia and Pettis County.

Several motorists became stranded in flooded intersections throughout Sedalia and one police unit was put out of service by the flooding, according to Sedalia Police Cmdr. Larry Ward.

“We probably had over 100 calls citywide and several intersections were flooded by debris from the flooding, most notably at the intersections of Highway 50 and Highway 65 and at the Katy Trail intersection at South Limit Avenue was submerged,” Ward said.

He said many motorists became stranded on flooding streets throughout the city. He said officers closed traffic to one lane on parts of Highway 50 due to the flooding. Ward said all major intersections were reopened after the water subsided. No injuries were reported, Ward said.

Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond said all low-lying bridges were flooded throughout the county and a bridge on Wimer Road in La Monte was washed away.

“It’s all up to the road and bridge departments to make repairs to those bridges,” Bond said.

According to a Pettis County Sheriff’s Office release, Pettis County Road and Bridge crews are working to repair the damage to Wimer Road bridge, located approximately 1 mile west of state Route 127 in northwest Pettis County, but the length of time the bridge will remain closed is still yet to be determined.

In addition to flooded roads, there were several reports of fallen trees and power lines throughout the county, Bond said. Bond also said there were no reports of major injuries.

Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Clippert said 6 to 7 inches of rain was recorded in Wednesday’s two storms.

He said the city fared pretty well and city crews are working to clear the roads of gravel and debris brought on by the storm.

Clippert said this is the first time in six years an emergency declaration has been made in Sedalia and Pettis County due to heavy rain.

“We sent that (declaration) to the State of Missouri, and the state will take that and add that to all the disaster totals they’re getting from throughout the state,” he said. “If they reach $8.4 million, we may get a disaster declaration from the federal government, is what (the declaration) starts for us. It also means they need emergency repairs, you need contract for that, it allows us to do phone bids rather than advertised, there’s financial things they can do if there’s an emergency with that.”

The State of Missouri is still under the state of emergency declared by Gov. Jay Nixon last month after earlier severe weather.

To make the emergency declaration, Clippert said the decision is based on the amount of damage in the area. He said there was a “good portion” of county roads where the gravel had been washed out, and the bridge on Wimer Road had moved off its foundation. Clippert said “luckily” when it stopped raining late Wednesday night, the water “went away pretty quickly.”

Pettis County Presiding Commissioner David Dick, Western Commissioner Jim Marcum, Eastern Commissioner Brent Hampy and Sedalia Mayor Steve Galliher all signed the proclamation Thursday morning declaring a state of emergency.

While residents are now dealing with the aftermath of Wednesday’s storms, Clippert said he’s been keeping an eye on a storm in Kansas that may be headed to Pettis County, reaching the area around 5 p.m.

“There’s more rain in Kansas that looks like it’s coming our way. It’s not really heavy, but we really don’t need much more water,” he said.

Clippert said there is a 20 to 30 percent chance of rain through the weekend, and those odds jump up to 50 percent Monday.

A Flood Warning has been issued for northeast Pettis County through 2 p.m. Friday.

According to a release from the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office, numerous roads remain impassable due to water over the roadway. Flooding is expected in mainly rural areas of Northeastern Pettis County, including Hughesville.

Sedalia Democrat
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