By RORYE O’CONNOR
MT. VERNON — —
Jefferson County first responders had their hands full this weekend as inclement weather — first flash flooding, then freezing rain conditions — caused hazardous road conditions.
The National Weather Service in Paducah issued a Flash Flood Watch to the Jefferson County area from 3 p.m. Saturday through Sunday afternoon.
The NWS reported that flooding was expected over much of the Southern Illinois area due to a surface cold front moving slowly southeast across the area Saturday and Sunday.
“A band of heavy rain with embedded thunderstorms is expected immediately behind the front, while scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible southeast of the front,” information states. “... A slow-moving band of moderate to heavy rain that developed across much of the region overnight has already brought anywhere from two to five inches of rainfall to many locations.”
A motorist reported to city police at 7:50 p.m. Saturday that the road had flooded in front of Summersville Grade School. Police reports state there was water flowing over the roadway in the 800 block of Old Fairfield Road, particularly deep in the east bound lanes.
Police responded to a report of a downed limb in the intersection of 42nd Street and Bishop Road at 8:36 p.m. Saturday — an officer stated a steady stream of water about six to eight inches deep was flowing over the roadway at that intersection.
The NWS in Paducah issued a Flood Warning for Jefferson County from about 12:15 a.m. until 6 a.m. Sunday, according to information from the JCEMA.
MVPD Cpl. Ryan McKee said city police responded to a one-vehicle accident on Illinois Highway 37 between Mt. Vernon and Dix on Saturday night. McKee said a motorist skidded on ice and slid down an embankment, requiring a tow truck to pull the vehicle out. There were no injuries, he said.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report of an accident on Richview Road east of Woodlawn Lane at about 2:23 a.m. Sunday, in which a vehicle had gone off the road into water.
Sheriff Roger Mulch said a deputy saw taillights of the partially submerged car and worked to pull a female driver from the vehicle. No injuries were reported. No other information was immediately available.
The NWS warned that any further rain or sleet would make ongoing flooding worse or create flooding conditions in areas that weren’t previously experiencing flooding.
“Flooding issues are most likely to develop near creeks and streams, and poorly draining urban areas,” information states.
The NWS issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Jefferson County until 6 p.m. Sunday, according to information from the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency.
Mt. Vernon Police Department reported seeing icing of bridges in the Jefferson County area at about noon Sunday, stating there had been two accidents involving ice-covered bridges at that time. The MVPD on its Facebook page urged motorists to use caution and limit travel.
Cpl. McKee said the main city roads Sunday afternoon were in good condition due to Illinois Department of Transportation trucks spreading salt, but that side roads were somewhat icy, and overpasses were extremely slick.
Police reported at about 1 p.m. Sunday there were several cars off the road on Interstate 64 west of the Woodlawn exit.