BETHALTO - Alan Winslow has lived in Bethalto for many years but he doesn’t remember the community ever getting pounded with so much rainfall in such a short period of time as Tuesday to Wednesday.
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Bethalto is cleaning up today after the rain blast to Wednesday and Winslow, the Bethalto mayor, described the rain as “almost of epic proportions" for Bethalto.
Dumpsters are in place behind the Public Works Building, 101 N. Prairie St. for Bethalto residents to drop off water damaged items, Winslow said.
“There was too much water to be able to move it with any kind of speed,” he said. “Our Public Works Department was out all day Wednesday pumping water like mad. Virginia Street, Grant Street, Culp Lane and a couple sections of 140 at times were under water.”
Bethalto Public Works Director Rod Cheatham said the community received 7 inches of rain in 5 hours, which is impossible to handle.
“We had ditches along the road full and people couldn’t see the roads and were driving off into the ditches,” Winslow said about Wednesday. “There is huge potential for trees to topple because the grounds are so saturated. We won’t know if our streets are damaged until we can check them out. This will end up being a pretty major weather event for us.”
The streets have to dry out, Winslow said, before proper assessment can be made.
Bryant Park was about 5 feet under water in spots on Wednesday, the mayor said.
“One of my other fears is we won’t know until sometime Thursday or Friday about the baseball fields,” he said. “Some of them are under water.”
Winslow also had concern about bridges in the community that received significant amounts of water around them.
“Especially the bridge on Albers and Culp Lane, we must inspect the footings after the water dries,” he said.
Winslow acknowledged that the Bethalto Fire Department performed a rescue of a people in the 400 block of Virginia, helping people get out of their home. He said he couldn’t be more proud how the Public Works Department and Police and Fire Departments all worked some relentlessly to help those in the community. The work continues today, he said, and will go for some days to come because of the amount of rainfall.
Wood River Creek was completely filled on Wednesday and was rushing with water, Winslow said.
“Wood River Creek was full and that is the channel that carries our storm water to the river,” he said. “When it backs all the way up stream we bear the brunt of it.”
Winslow closed with a proper way to sum up what happened in Bethalto from late Tuesday to Wednesday.
“I have never seen this kind of deluge,” he said of rain sweeping through his city.
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