Cleanup continues with more rain to come

Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Trees and limbs from Thursday's storm still had Brucher Street closed Monday morning near Bertling Street in north Cape Girardeau. (Kit Doyle)

Several days after a powerful storm system moved through the area, Cape Girardeau continued to clean up the mess left behind as more rain moved in.

A series of powerful storms ripped through the Southeast Missouri region and other parts of the country's midsection last Wednesday and Thursday, uprooting trees and causing other damage and disruption of daily life. As the line moved through, nine tornado tracks were spotted in western Kentucky, according to the National Weather Service.

In Cape Girardeau the storms weren't as strong, but trees were knocked over and branches were snapped in a large area of the city north and west of the Southeast Missouri State University campus.

On Monday, city crews were still working to clean up the debris left in city roads, with more work left to do.

"Our crews are probably going to be out there most of the week," said Steve Cook, assistant public works director.

"We've got several hundred stops to make."

The public works department is picking up storm debris left at curbsides in the affected area, Cook said. More than 100 households have called requesting pickup, he said, and many more haven't that need the service.

At the start of the day Monday one street was closed -- Brucher Street at its intersection with Bertling Street -- due to limbs in the road. The other end of Brucher Street remained open, and the Bertling Street intersection was open by afternoon.

One woman living in the area said the closure didn't cause any significant travel inconvenience.

In other places some limbs were in the street, but not blocking the road. Cook said the city has experienced some problems with people putting storm debris on the street itself, but those items should be out of the street on the curbside.

Cape Girardeau County Highway Department supervisor Scott Bechtold said no roads were closed after the storm, and all roads were cleared by last weekend.

Last week's storm added to the extraordinary amount of rain that has fallen on Southeast Missouri and the surrounding area in September and October, following one of the driest summers on record.

During September 5.38 inches of precipitation fell at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, according to University of Missouri climatologist Pat Guinan, well above normal levels for September.

Rainfall on the year is still well below normal, though. According to Guinan's records, 2007 still has the sixth-driest March through Sept. 30 period since 1919, with precipitation 9.8 inches below normal for that period.

During a four-week period that ended last Sunday, 6.25 inches fell in Cape Girardeau County on average, according to local USDA estimates.

The rain has helped alleviate the severe drought Southeast Missouri has experienced this year.

While the rainfall is too late to boost soybean yields, it will still have a beneficial effect on pasture land, which had been almost completely devastated before the recent wet weather.

"Some of the pastures are starting to, not really green up, but fescue plants that people thought were dead are starting to show some signs of life," said Gerald Bryan, University of Missouri Extension agronomist for Cape Girardeau County.

The rains are also beneficial for those planting winter wheat, though the wet ground has slowed the soybean harvest, Bryan said.

Rainy, cloudy weather is expected to continue through Friday, said David Humphrey, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Paducah, Ky. After today the chances of rain will diminish, though clouds will stick around, Humphrey said.

And temperatures will remain below the average high, hanging around the low- to mid-60s. The average high for this time of year is in the upper 60s, Humphrey said.

335-6611, extension 182

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: