BRIDGE OUT: The bridge on County Road 263 in the southern portion of the county was washed away by heavy rain over the weekend. Southern District Commissioner John Wrenfrow said the bridge is now passable. Photo courtesy of Oregon County Chief Deputy Eric King
OREGON COUNTY-MAMMOTH SPRING -- High straight-line winds and heavy rain caused damage around the Oregon County area last weekend.
Northern District Commissioner Buddy Wright said his end of the county did not suffer as much damage as those in the southern portion of Oregon County but many roads in his district did receive some damage.
"We had a few washouts due to heavy rain, but nothing was impassable. There are also some trees down due to high winds but not much damage and no one was injured," Wright said Monday morning.
"We are basically back to square one now. We are going to have to grade all the roads again, of course, but it could have been worse," the commissioner said.
The southern end of Oregon County did not fare as well.
"We had a flood," Southern District Commissioner John Wrenfrow said.
Wrenfrow said some areas in the southern end of the county reported as much as 13 inches of rain from late Friday night through Saturday noon.
The bridge near the Rich Morgan farm on County Road 263 was completely washed away.
Wright sent two members of his road crew to help in the cleanup effort in the south end of the county. He said they loaded and hauled off 35 dump truck loads of debris from the bridge.
"Mill Creek and James Creek are both large watersheds," Wrenfrow said. He said that area suffered the most extensive damage.
"From the Jeff community to the Ripley County line, about 18 miles, is where most of the washouts occurred. Dirt and gravel was just completely washed off the roads," the commissioner said. This is the same area that received severe damage last year when a surprise winter tornado ripped through the southern portion of Oregon County near Myrtle.
Wrenfrow said his crews are trying to reclaim as much of the dirt and gravel that was washed away as they can. The crews worked through the weekend, and by Monday morning all the roads were passable, including the bridge on County Road 263.
Wright and Wrenfrow said they are grateful for the patience of residents in the county while they waited for the roads to be re-opened.
Oregon County Emergency Director Eric King said, "We had some washedout roads and several fences washed out across the county. Mitchell Lane near BB Road received a lot of damage in the northern portion of the county, but the worst of the weather was definitely to our south."
He said MoDOT crews and county road crews spent the weekend again cutting trees and debris out of roadways to make the rural roads passable. King said no tornados were reported in the county and the winds were all straight-line winds.
Thayer Emergency Preparedness Director Mark Arnold said this time Thayer did not receive the brunt of the storm. "We had a downed tree on Webber Street and some power outages in the Barton Hill area of the city," Arnold said. He said Thayer received 5 1/2 to 6 inches of rain Friday night into Saturday, with winds ranging from 45 to 50 mph.
Workers at Thayer City Hall said city crews had to remove debris from the grate drains along Thayer city sidewalks because the rain came so fast and so hard it clogged the grates.
Mammoth Spring Mayor Jean Pace said her city did see some heavy rain and high winds but suffered little to no damage.
"We did have the ground water storage unit at one of our wells struck by lightning," Pace said. The mayor said the city always has a backup unit and water service was not interrupted.