After an unusually wet spring and early summer, the heavy rains that moved into the area early Sunday morning wreaked havoc with severe flash flooding.
According to the National Weather Service,up to approximately 8 inches of rain fell over the area within several hours. The heavy rains caused flash flooding throughout Neosho and the surrounding area.
In Neosho, numerous streets were impassable due to high water. Some of the streets lie in areas that often flood while others were unprecedented. Part of Neosho Boulevard and the downtown area flooded.
Areas near Riverside Drive and Stratford Place in eastern Neosho, both hard hit in the April 2017 floods, were heavily impacted. So was Morse Park, another part of the city hit by the earlier flooding. On the northern edge of town, College Street, which is also Business 60, was closed. Areas near the Lime Kiln park on the banks of Shoal Creek were also underwater. Business 60 leading out of Neosho was also closed. In northern Newton County, River Road, which runs concurrent with Shoal Creek was underwater and closed to traffic. Flooding was also reported in some areas of Joplin.
Many water rescues took place in the Neosho area and in Seneca. Some areas, particularly those along Hickory Creek, which travels through the city, and Shoal Creek, were evacuated. Parts of Anderson and some of the Seneca area were also evacuated.
Authorities asked that Neosho residents stay home and not venture out unless necessary if they were not threatened by the rising waters.
County wide, numerous roads were affected, and some have been closed due to damage.
South of Neosho, many portions of McDonald County were underwater. On U.S. Highway 59 south of Goodman, culverts were washed onto the roadway. In Anderson, Buffalo Branch rose along Main Street, sweeping vehicles and heavy construction equipment away. Damage to the bridge crossing the stream on Main Street destroyed the bridge and roadway.
The town of Seneca in Western Newton County was cut off from the outside world when all roads leading into the small town, which lies in a valley, were closed. Cherokee Street, the main business street, was flooded when Lost Creek rose over the roadway.
A shelter was set up by the City of Neosho, first at the Neosho Senior Center on Carl Sweeney Parkway, then moved to Calvary Baptist Church in Neosho. A veterans’ group prepared dinner on Sunday evening for those who had taken refuge there.
At Neosho High School, the football field was underwater. High School Branch, which is normally dry, filled the ditch behind the school and spread into parking lots.
On Sunday evening, damage was still being assessed throughout Neosho and Newton County.
Details on the flooding, disaster assistance and more will appear in our Tuesday edition and we will update as information becomes available both on the website and on Facebook.