Lightning strike leads to flood in downtown Cape

Thursday, June 26, 2008
AARON EISENHAUER ~ Crews went to work at the Merriwether Street pumping station Thursday night as water filled the streets surrounding it.

Part of downtown Cape Girardeau along Water and Main streets was flooded when a lightning strike apparently knocked out two fuses at the Main Street Levee District pumping station at the foot of Meriwether Street.

The lightning hit just after 7:30 p.m.

At 9:15 p.m., water appeared to be slowly receding at the base of Themis Street.

Earlier in the evening, Main Street Levee District president Andy Juden could not estimate how long it would take to restore power to the pumping station vital to keeping downtown Cape Girardeau dry.

The fuses that must be replaced are on a utility pole, next to the pumping station. It will require a bucket truck and crew to service the fuses. It is not clear whether crews will be able to do the work if the thunderstorms continue.

Water at 8:45 p.m. was a couple inches deep in the pumping station itself, but several feet deep in the parking lot in front of the "Missouri Wall of Fame" mural. At one point, water was ankle deep across Main Street between Meriwether and Independence streets.

"If it rains more, there'll be water everywhere," Juden said.

"Water's coming in the door already. It's a few feet deep downstairs," said Kati Kronmueller, hostess and server at Port Cape restaurant. "We're not bailing water, but the Captain's Quarters room has a couple of feet."

Ameren crews arrived at 8:49 p.m. to begin repairs; more storms appear to be on the way.

Check back at for more on this story, or see Friday's Southeast Missourian.

Staff writer Peg McNichol contributed to this report.

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