In case you have not heard this yet, I would like to clue you in on one result of rising floodwaters in Peabody early Monday morning. During the night I heard rain and noticed dim flashes of lightning from time to time. Even with the foggy realization that rain was coming down, I was a bit surprised when someone from our office in Marion called Monday morning to tell me that reports had Peabody surrounded by water and travel next to impossible. They needed pictures and some kind of information about where the flooding had occurred and whether anyone was stranded. I was out the door in no time.
It is a given that there are several places to check for floodwaters with every heavy rain. We can count on the track south of the football field being under water. Adjacent park property, the bridge, and the south end of Locust St. generally are also under water. Moving east a bit, S. Olive St. always floods, and Spring Creek overflows its banks, leaving families there in need of evacuation. The south end of Walnut and Maple Sts. and the stretch of Central Ave. between them also looks like a pond for hours before the floodwaters go down.
I checked all those places and, yes, I was right: They were in or under water. In addition, water had come over the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe tracks in a rush and was pooled at 1st and Walnut Sts., creeping toward the front of David and Leslie LaFoy’s building and threatening the southernmost businesses on Walnut St.
Water from Spring Creek and Doyle Creek rose quickly about dawn. Ambulance crews, firefighters, police, city workers, and volunteers left home and made their way to help residents who were about to be in trouble. Emergency personnel evacuated those in the Olive neighborhood, and barricades restricted travel to and from the area. Spring Creek lapped at the bottom of a bridge on Olive St.
Sand piles and filled sand bags were carried to the south end of the business district in case rapidly rising water continued to creep north into stores and businesses. Barricades at many intersections kept the curious from getting close to rapidly flowing floodwaters.
Within a couple of hours, the sun came out, and water seeped slowly away. Talk at the coffee shop had four or five inches of rain in backyard rain gauges and dire predictions of what the forecast for four more inches of rain Monday afternoon would mean to Marion County. High water was apparent at bridges and low spots in the county from north to south. Travel was discouraged everywhere, and most people obeyed.
So, crisis averted. As the day wore on, much of the rain and storms were taken out of the next several days’ forecast.
However, thanks to all the good people who got up early Monday to help those who did not yet know that they might be in danger. Often we are critical of city employees and people serving with emergency services, firefighting, and law enforcement, but it seems they are there when we need them.
Thanks to all of you who got out to help those in need of your assistance. You are our heroes!