While Mother Nature has managed to keep the orange cones from going into bloom on 270 due to the flooding just south of the Clark Bridge, there will be daytime off peak mainline restrictions on the river bridge next week as bridge inspections are done.  Mandated by federal law, IDOT crews will be closing one lane at a time to conduct inspections.

We know that the whole region is on a high right now with that big hockey win – and it came off the heels of a minor incident on the river bridge around 4:55 PM last night that had serious consequences.

Allegedly 3 vehicles were involved and while it was not raining on that part of 270 there were passing showers in the area during the evening peak, add in the restrictions south of the Clark Bridge, and we hear about 2 hour delays after one of the admins shared this post on Facebook. Those people that still insist on using the Clark Bridge have been dealing enough with the lane restrictions that have gone on for the past 2 months (aside from a 10 day reprieve in late April).  Last night someone shared a post on a Facebook group of illegal driving. (Cannot embed the post due to Facebook restrictions but the locals are claiming its happening all the time.)

Now the potentially ugly with the flooding now that the river had recently crested at 39 feet in Alton and the last thing we want to share here:

Up to 6 inches (locally) is expected but the Riverbend and points upstream could be seeing at least 3 inches of rain through next week. A secondary crest at Alton is not off the table but that won’t happen before next week and it is too far out for the river forecasts to consider at this point. I know everyone is tired of the Clark Bridge woes, but we do not want to see the river forecast flirting with 41 or higher in Alton.

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With the river now approaching 39 feet at Alton and causing critical alternative routes being cut off one by one, the last thing we wanted to see tonight is a chance of severe weather and a wet weather forecasts. The weather models have been hinting at both for several days and sadly not at a time that we wanted it to occur.

First thing first, lets put this rumor to bed because if it came to the point, first the river at Alton has to be around or near the 41 foot mark and second, MoDOT would likely have all hands on deck in West Alton:

Losing the Clark Bridge itself would be a bitter blow for us because it would turn the canal bridge into a major choke point during the AM peak.

However, the bad news this week is that up to 4 and possibly 5 inches of rain is expected to fall in a widespread area this week. The weather models have been fairly consistent with the wet weather pattern for this week but now it is up to Mother Nature to decide whether or not those models are proven true or false.

With that, there are three mentalities:

  1. The river crest could be pushed back
  2. The river could crest, drop slightly, and then rise again for a even bigger secondary crest.  At this stage of the game, a value at least 41 feet in Alton is major trouble.
  3. The river could crest and go into an holding pattern as the Illinois River is still rising and there is rainfall expected upstream.  The river further downstream is already running high.

Regardless of those mentalities, the expected river crest due on June 6/7 time window is not likely the final crest this spring and we cannot get complacent especially that the gate on Route 3 at Wood River (near the Alton/East Alton city limits) is now closed as of today.

But regardless of the rainfall, the short term issue is the possible severe weather for tonight that could happen. The NWS has this area in the slight risk category, is expected to issue a weather watch later this afternoon, and has this area in the slight risk of excessive rainfall today and marginal risk the next two days.

The main mentalities of the severe weather risk could be:

  1. Strong winds is the major threat – a downburst that takes a direct hit in the wrong spot may be trouble to the emergency crews guarding the levees.
  2. The severe weather stays to the north and west but mellows out as it approaches here and turns into the big rainfall event

This closure is for the old Route 66 alignment that is just downstream from here.

Last but not least, there was an alleged incident this morning westbound that was in the area of the canal bridge.

This incident backed up westbound traffic to Route 111.

The NWS has been putting this section of 270 in the enhanced risk of severe weather and as the storms start to develop over Quincy the situation is looking scary. The watch now is in effect until 11 PM tonight but the main event will likely roll in the next 60 to 90 minutes.

Main mentalities:
1. Strong winds and/or hail on the onset but unless it takes a direct hit on a temporary flood wall this is the least of your problems.
2. Heavy rain with up to 2 inches of rain falling in short duration – however, this is a random possibility where one town gets hit with big rains yet a town just a few miles away gets little. If this hits the Wood River drainage basin, there could be some short term problems.
3. Will cause more problems with the river crests as it is still flirting with the 40 foot for Alton on Thursday but even bigger problems lurk as early as Tuesday with some of the weather model runs.
4. The odds of excessive rainfall is at least 5% but not greater than 20%.

This stuff is heading towards us. Hit or miss on the big rains but unfortunately the big ones are happening in the last places we want to see it.

The NWS still has the crest at Alton near 40 feet, but had pushed it back from June 4 to June 6. That wet weather pattern returns as early as Tuesday and is likely going to be a big player. The river flirting with a record level cannot be ruled out and this crest is unlikely going to be the last one.

There been times we tell you about that mistakes during peak hour often goes punished in this area. Unfortunately the brakes of one of the tractor-trailers allegedly locked up either on or near the river bridge this morning and the driver of that tractor-trailer was able to get the rig off the river bridge and on the land just west of the Riverview exit. It had to happen during the 6 AM hour and it was enough to force traffic to Alton (even though the Riverview exit ramp was open) for the morning peak and it took over 5 hours to fully clear the incident. One of the admins was there at the scene during the chaos and took a few photos.

With the current woes on the JB Bridge for southbound 255 drivers AND the restrictions just south of the Clark Bridge, that truck fire was all it took for the media to go on tilt, even though it was the unluckiest of circumstances that led to the incident.

As a result, Route 143 backed up from the Clark Bridge towards Wood River, and westbound 270 backed up to 255. There was a second incident on 270 that was near the Route 111 interchange but that suddenly became a minor issue compared to the truck fire. Route 3 backed up for several miles approaching the McKinley Bridge as well. Route 140 backed up towards the Alton Police Department that is located on the corner of Broadway and Washington.

We won’t even discuss that happened to delays on the other downtown bridges because they took the brunt of the I-255 traffic. This google map will show how bad it got and it doesn’t even show what happened in the Riverbend:

The feature image of this article was made for this Facebook group based in the Riverbend and unable to embed the original post.

The Tuesday afternoon peak was a nightmare in North County for the entire afternoon, even before the peak period started.  It started with a serious semi incident in a section of North County that the admins normally pay no attention to as it is 12 miles west of the bridges.  Around that same time, Mother Nature rolled in some fireworks of her own with confirmed severe weather although the most of it missed to the east.

It took most of the afternoon to clear but it manages to cause westbound to back up until West Florissant – and by the time traffic started to move the eastbound problems began in one of the worst possible places – between the bridges.

This took at least 45 minutes to clear but the damage was done as North County backed up from the bridges all the way towards that initial incident west of Lindbergh.

This was not the even the worst news of the day, as the heavy rain is causing the Mississippi River on the rise for a secondary crest that was casually mentioned in the final risk forecast of the season for early May. The NWS isn’t even denying it at this point, and now it is forecast for an even higher crest than the first one in Alton:

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With additional rainfall in the forecast and May projected to be a wetter than normal month, the crest will likely be adjusted.  The value provided means that the cones are coming back to the Clark Bridge commute for anyone that goes in North County from the Riverbend area.  Whether or not the northbound lanes get converted is up in the air due to the rapidly rising river and the fact the earliest quiet weather happens is not until Friday – and that ball is strictly on MoDOT corner.

Note: we will have an admin out of town starting today and going into early next week.  The site may not be monitored during the morning peak as the only other admins work the late shifts.

UPDATE 13:30 5/1/19 – The NWS released latest information in the past hour and it is even worse than what it was given early this morning.  We expect the southbound lanes to flood during the overnight hours.  Since it is unlikely that conversion will occur at night and the fact more questionable weather is in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, please expect heavier than normal westbound traffic for the morning peak on Thursday.

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For the past 10 days the NWS had the river at Alton expected to flirt with the dreaded 29 foot level. This morning, there was confirmation that the river was expected to flirt with 31, and MoDOT started the process of converting the northbound lanes of 367 to two way traffic just south of the Clark Bridge.

In short, now with the orange barrels on the Clark Bridge drive, this usually means it is unlikely any mainline lane restrictions will happen on this section of 270. This also means that the peak periods will be heavier than normal and with this recent run of bad form – mistakes have even greater consequences.

One of our admins personally drove through this on Saturday and obviously he was not a happy person having to post about it:

That happened while westbound was still an active construction zone, and the incident blocked eastbound traffic for almost an hour before getting cleared.

Yesterday morning the problems continued with a peak hour westbound incident near Lilac:

Toss in another peak hour incident that happened that afternoon on westbound lanes near 111

To be honest, I’m losing count of the number of incidents since February 28 and right now we are at a point that with the Clark Bridge now restricted that we cannot afford any more mistakes, especially during peak periods.

The late week quiet weather and the fact the NWS had backed off on the river flirting with 29 feet at Alton has brought the road crews out of the winter hibernation and for the second weekend in a row anyone that intends on going westbound needs to be aware of mainline lane closures and delays.

Construction cones mean that there will be reduced speed limits and very likely local law enforcement agencies out in the area. Last night there was an incident where someone failed to slow down and move over – and hit a state trooper that was doing his job on the side of eastbound 55 near 255:

Last week a post was shared about the river at Alton going over 29 feet that was heavily shared. That forecast has since been revised where it will flirt with 28 feet but keep in mind right now that the crest is not expected for another week AND there is more rain in the forecast for early next week. Therefore that threat is not over and it is very important to stay tuned.

NOAA has since released this graphic and flooding is likely going to be encountered well into the spring:

There is also work slated on Route 3 south of 270 that is coming up and taking away of an alternate route in the process:

There is no update from the previous post regarding that incident to share but since that incident at least two more have happened, and the morning peak in North County this morning was not a good one at all.

If the post this morning talked about the delays it was this incident in general

It is clear that this horrible run of form had to continue yesterday morning when there was yet another incident eastbound, and it was in the middle of the river bridge. This incident may have happened after the morning peak had ended, but it lured out a TV news helicopter and river search crews. While little is being mentioned about the incident itself, the footage showed a vehicle flipped over, a second vehicle obviously involved, and a third vehicle that did not appear to have any damage.

Both eastbound lanes would be blocked for some time of an incident that happened just before 10 in the morning but would be cleared within an hour.

A second media outlet posted this later:

It is believed that the decision of one person caused the incident, and the search that was going on in a river that was running very high was called off.

This incident came off the heels following a Friday morning nightmare where one of the admins had to sit in traffic following an incident that allegedly occurred in North County during a morning peak period.

Just a week ago, this fatality happened in North County although not on the mainline itself:

That came just days after these peak hour incidents (albeit eastbound during morning peak)


Yes that was the last day of February, but it was a high risk morning with various North County schools calling off (but none in the Riverbend), but since that morning the peak periods have been very rubbish.

What does all those recent incidents have in common: up here poor driving decisions often have consequences – and so far this month these poor decisions have resulted in three little kids having to bury their parents.

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Following a brutal winter that had rain and/or snow events virtually every weekend this season, finally there is one weekend that is expected to be fully quiet for the most part.  The problem is that its the first mostly quiet weekend in several months and as a result the road crews have emerged from their hibernation.

Aside from the fact the wind is still howling out there (although not as harsh as it was the past two days) and a few sprinkles may occur during the day, the skies are expected to clear out to reveal a sunny weekend.

This weekend also just happens to be St. Patrick’s Day weekend, which is a notorious drinking holiday. If you do intend on consuming the adult beverages (if you make use of the Clark Bridge, you might want to consider it given the latest forecast regarding the Mississippi River at Alton is flirting with 29 feet at some point by next weekend), please don’t press your luck because it is very likely that the law enforcement agencies will be out in full force.

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Latest river forecast, and if you use the Clark Bridge better be on guard.

Meanwhile back to the original topic:  expect a long weekend of delays if you insist of going westbound across the bridges after the morning peak.  You got admins already in less than good moods right now due to the high amount of eastbound incidents in North County in the past 13 days that included one fatality earlier this week.  Please be on your better behavior because there are now three little kids that have to bury their parents due to a bad decision that they have no control over.

Snow arrives Sunday AM

Posted: 2019/03/03 in Weather
Tags:

Once again Mother Nature has to use a poor time for a snow event, except this is on a Sunday where the worst that could happen is to hamper shift change that happens between 6 and 7 in the morning and put a damper in church services.

Since the weather models still cannot decide what will happen during the day Sunday, the NWS has went with a Winter Weather Advisory.  Likewise, there was no agreement with the mentalities of the system except for two things:

  • Temperatures will bottom out
  • Winds will be strong

Regarding snow amounts, one model will print out up to 2 inches, yet another model will go up to 6 inches.  Therefore, there will be no mentality with snowfall amounts, especially when one admin has to make the trip to Marion in the morning.grandma snow