Flooding in Pulaski County, Mo. leads to RV park evacuation and road repairs

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT
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PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - A handful of roadways and parks are underwater in Pulaski County after early morning flooding on Thursday.

First responders evacuated an RV park in Waynesville first thing in the morning. Water levels rose all across the county.

“We saw a lot of low water crossings becoming impassable,” Pulaski County Office of Emergency Management Director Shauna McCullough said. “A lot of damage to a lot of the gravel roads, not necessarily washouts, just some rough roads.”

The high water levels even ripped apart a bridge on a portion of U Highway in Pulaski County.

”The water rose very quickly and obviously was pretty powerful,” McCullough said. “We can see here a lot of the asphalt was washed out. There’s remnants of pieces over here. We’ve got a picnic table over here in the wood line.”

Debris is still scattered across the grass near the bridge. Chunks of asphalt sit nearby, and the water mangled a portion of the guardrail from the ground.

That particular crossing has a bit of a history. Tragedy struck in 2015.

”We had five military students that came over the roadway here, and they all perished in a vehicle that was captured by water,” said Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Linda Burgess.

Burgess said that same year seven people died from the flooding within three minutes. Five people died at that particular spot on U Highway and two others died at a crossing along another highway.

MoDOT already repaired the bridge on U Highway later in the morning and afternoon on Thursday, but law enforcement say drivers need to still be cautious when they approach the area. They say it could still just as easily flood again.

“We’re telling you today so that tonight when water hits again, people need to be making other routes,” Burgess said. “We have several subdivisions where people need to be thinking if they need something, let’s get it now before the water hits again. Let’s stay at home and let’s not go somewhere. If you have to go somewhere, use an alternate route.”

Emergency responders say it is never worth risking it. Crews rescued a driver Thursday morning on O Highway.

”It is very important for people to turn around and not drown,” Burgess said. “These waters, when they are over the roadway, people cannot always see them.”

Flooded roadways can be especially hard to see at night, which is why slowing down is key. Emergency responders say slowing down will allow drivers more time to adapt to the road conditions. Right now emergency crews are already looking ahead and even keeping an eye on rain and flooding in nearby communities.

”Just because we don’t get three inches from the sky doesn’t mean we’re not going to get three inches some other way coming from upstream,” McCullough said.

Emergency crews say it is also always important to remember there could be hazards under the water, like busted up asphalt. The Pulaski County Office of Emergency Management says you can check for road updates on its social media pages.

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