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Play it safe in flash flood scenarios


Severe thunderstorm warnings Saturday evening, into Sunday created hazards for drivers across Webster County. Road crews are busy assessing and repairing any damage to roadways and bridges after several inches of rain wreaked havoc over the weekend.

With the flash flood warnings that accompanied the thunderstorms, several water rescues took place in Greene County, Laclede County and surrounding areas. Webster County dispatch called assistance for what was believed to be a truck washed away on a bridge just outside of Marshfield city limits, toward Fordland.

Just after midnight into early Sunday, numerous emergency service agencies responded to the Bell Ford area from the junction of A Highway and FF, through to KK and Bell Springs. Webster County dispatch received the initial call from a nearby landowner that a white truck was stuck on the bridge, before the caller then said it had washed away.

“From what I understand, there may have been some misinformation but of course, we responded given the nature of the call that dispatch received,” said Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole. “We put a lot of man-hours into looking for the truck, but I think that by the time it was called in, the driver had already gotten out. We are still looking, we’re being cautious just in case but there has been no reported missing persons.”

Low-water bridges and crossings can be lethal under serious weather conditions. According to Cole, in the event of flash floods, the water is usually deeper than it appears.

“Just don’t even consider crossing them. The difficulty is that the water rises so quickly. We lost a deputy a few years ago in Greene County where he crossed a bridge, and within just a couple of minutes he came right back, but it had risen that fast that his car got swept off, and we lost him,” Cole said. “We lost somebody south of Fordland a couple years ago because they just couldn't see how deep it was. They thought the creek was another 100 yards ahead of them, but the water is wider than the creek bed… You don't always anticipate the problems in those situations… So especially if you know it's a place that typically floods, stay away from it. It’s better to just turn around and go sit on the side of the road at higher ground until it's safe.”


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