Flooding memories are still fresh in the minds of residents living near one of the many rivers and streams in Franklin County.
After a dry 2018, the prospect of spring flooding is again rearing its ugly head for the spring of 2019, but only time will tell if there is a repeat of recent years.
Severe flooding hit Franklin County with a one-two punch in the winter of 2015 and again in the spring of 2017.
Unexpected and unusual winter flooding occurred just after Christmas and cleanup extended into the spring of 2016.
One year later, as many residents were still in the recovery process, the county was again thrown into a flooding emergency even worse than the one before.
On Sunday, April 30, 2017, the county commission was forced to declare a state of emergency due to rising floodwaters on the Bourbeuse River in the center, and the Meramec River on both ends, of Franklin County.
While the rains were still falling, first responders and crews from multiple county departments were on the ground closing roads and evacuating residents.
Rain started falling April 26, 2017 with the final reading of consecutive days ending May 5. The highest daily rainfall was April 30 with 4.48 inches, and total rainfall for that 10-day run was 10.98 inches.
At the worst of the flooding, the Bourbeuse, Meramec and Missouri rivers were at major flood stage. Franklin County’s road arteries were cut off.
At different times, Highways 44, 50, 47, 30 and 185, as well as many local roads, were closed due to flooding.
The Missouri River at Washington, the last to crest, reached its zenith at 31.88 feet. It was the fifth-highest crest on record, trailing 1993, 1995, 1986 and 1844.
When all was said and done, Franklin County ranked in the top 10 counties in Missouri to suffer damages in the flooding.
In all, about one-third of the 941 total structures in the unincorporated county flood plains were damaged, including 280 nonprimary structures.
An additional 51 primary structures were also affected.
In this case, a nonprimary structure can be anything from a chicken coop to a river cabin or clubhouse. A primary structure is classified as a residence.
Across the county 154 FEMA claims were made and $589,146 was paid out to homeowners.
The highest number of claims was in Pacific, followed by St. Clair, Robertsville and Villa Ridge.
Smaller numbers of claims were filed by residents in Union, Sullivan, New Haven and Lonedell.
The flooding in 2017 cost Franklin County $406,045 for overtime, materials and resources.
The county was reimbursed for 75 percent of its costs after it surpassed the $366,000 threshold, leaving a final bill of $100,551 for the flood efforts.
The low cost is remarkable, officials have said, considering it included the removal and demolition of the 130-year-old Bruns Bridge which had been washed away in the flood and came to rest in the Meramec River bottom outside St. Clair.
In addition to initial responses, and the Bruns Bridge, several county roads were damaged by the rain, flowing and standing floodwaters as well.
The costs for these repairs were the highest to the county at $276,602.
Mill Hill Road ($67,053) outside St. Clair completely washed out as did Old Highway 100 ($119,145) outside Washington and had to be completely rebuilt.
Repairs to other roads in the eastern district of the county cost $57,923 and $32,479 in the western district.