Metro-East hit hard by floods after widespread storms


by staff

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 4:10 PM

(KMOV) – From East St. Louis to Highland, the Metro East was hit hard by flooding when storms swept through the region Thursday afternoon.

Just a block from the East Saint Louis City Hall, a woman had to be rescued after trying to drive through a flooded underpass.

City workers pulled a truck next to her car to help get her out. One worker says she was inside her car with water up to her neck by the time she was rescued.

The storm drains had been cleaned out a few hours earlier, but one worker says the river levels were up, backing up the drains and creating flooding conditions.

At an Interstate 70 rest stop, run-off from fields covered the roadway with several inches of water, forcing Illinois Department of Transportation crews to close the exit.

Emergency crews had to not only deal with the heavy rains, but an overturned semi on I-70, which shut down all westbound lanes.  Traffic was diverted down Highway 40 right through Highland.

”We’ve had to barricade several roads off due to the flooding,” said Officer Gary Sellers with the Highland Police Department. “Also had to deal with the amount of traffic coming off Highway 40 because they shut down Interstate 70.”

Gary Foehner took part of his lunch hour to check out high water around the town.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything this deep before ever and we’ve had some pretty big rains here,” he said.

Fire crews rescued a woman who tried to drive through a rain-swollen creek just about 50 yards from the Highland fire house.

“When she tried to go through it it was at the lower part of the door, by time we got her out of the car that’s how fast it went up it was almost at mid-door,” said Chief Rick Bloemker with the Highland Fire Department. “Went up fast, if there’s any doubt don’t try it.”