By Katie Dahlstrom Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — Heavy rains caused flash flooding and spurts of police and fire activity across the Clinton area on Wednesday.
Clinton-area weather observer Jim Blaess said by 6 p.m. the area had received 1.72 inches of rain and had experienced three episodes of pea- to dime-sized hail. Along with the rain came lightning and thunder, which activated a number of alarms throughout the city.
The Clinton Fire Department responded to three lightning-related calls within one minute, Battalion Chief Frederick Roling said.
At 12:32 p.m. the department received a call because of an activated fire alarm at Clinton High School. Roling said the alarm likely was caused by a nearby lightning strike.
At the same time, the department received a call for a possible house fire in the 2300 block of Barker Street, which did not turn out to be a house fire.
One minute later, someone reported the smell of smoke possibly caused by lightning in the 1100 block of Keiths Court. Because of the teams that were already dispatched at the time, mutual aid from Fulton was called in. Ultimately, this call was related to electrical problems, Roling said, and Fulton mutual aid was terminated before the assisting team even arrived.
The department received another call about a possible lightning strike near the courthouse at 1:02 p.m. This call was caused by a detector malfunction, Roling said.
"We all knew the storm was coming because we were notified by the law center," Roling said. "We knew what was coming to the area and we could prepare."
Clinton Police Sgt. Steve Kopp said his department also responded to a number of areas that had been affected by the storm, specifically the rain.
Some intermittent flooding occurred on Third and Fourth streets near 17th and 18th avenues north. Both viaducts at Second and Fourth streets also flooded, causing a motorist to be stranded briefly. Police ultimately barricaded both viaducts shortly after noon.
The city of Clinton is preparing for the influx of precipitation that will continue to pelt the area by installing the flood gates at Ninth Avenue North. The National Weather Service predicts the Mississippi River gauge at Camanche will reach 18.8 feet by Friday. Flood stage at that gauge is 17 feet.