Forecasters say rest of week will be dry

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Nearly 5 inches of cold, constant rain left some rural roads in Cape Girardeau and Bollinger counties under water Monday, but forecasters say the rest of the week should be dry.

They made no promises about Christmas.

"We've had some nasty cold rain for a few days," said Christine Zagorski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky., which also monitors Southeast Missouri. "We should be done with the rain at least until Sunday, so we should have a chance to dry out."

Today should be partly cloudy with highs near 50. Tonight should be mostly clear with lows in the lower 30s.

A low-pressure system over the Central Plains should reach the area by the weekend, she said, leaving a possibility for precipitation.

"There is a chance of rain Monday and possibly into Christmas," Zagorski said. "It could be cold enough that we could get some snow, but it's still such a long way off we'll have to wait and see."

From Saturday through Monday afternoon, 4.94 inches of rain fell on Cape Girardeau. "It's not normal to get that much rain in that short of time" in December, Zagorski said.

The rain prompted the Missouri Department of Transportation, on advice of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, to close a few outlying roads. In southern Cape Girardeau County, Route P was closed from Highway 25 to Route W.

"This isn't the first time we've closed the road, but it got worse now than it usually gets," said Tonya Wells, a transportation department spokeswoman.

Dave Finney of Bell City, Mo., drove the first of several vehicles that went through standing water on Route P.

"I wasn't sure I'd make it because I wasn't sure how deep it was," Finney said after successfully crossing with his four-wheel-drive vehicle. "I started to back up, but then I thought I'd just go for it."

The Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department reported that the intersection of routes A and U at Whitewater was closed because water covered the road Monday afternoon.

In Bollinger County, Route H and Route N south of Fargus were closed Monday. Route PP was also closed for a time, but was reopened in the afternoon.

Cape Girardeau County director of emergency operations David Hitt said the agency's role was limited to tracking which roads were closed in case police or firefighters needed to take alternate routes.

"We really are only activated when it's flash-flooding and people are caught off guard," Hitt said. "When it comes this slow over a several-day period, people know what's coming."

335-6611, extension 137

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