Hurricane Isaac: Webster Groves Emergency Responders on Standby
St. Louis County officials, including those from Webster Groves, are monitoring the anticipated weather system expected to hit the St. Louis area, which could bring heavy rains and flooding.
Webster Groves emergency responders are closely monitoring weather reports in anticipation of the remnants of Hurricane Isaac expected to hit the St. Louis area late Friday or Saturday.
Earlier today, several St. Louis County-area police and fire departments met in a Wildwood-based emergency preparation session. The session involved National Weather Service experts.
Capt. Stephen Spear, of the Webster Groves Police Department, said his department did not attend the meeting based on current weather prediction models.
"As with any event, we are following our Emergency Operations Plan and evaluating the situation as it develops, said Spear. "Should there be a dramatic change in the anticipated weather system stemming from Tropical Storm Issac, we will adjust our response and resources accordingly."
During today's meeting in Wildwood, emergency responders said the major hazards expected due to storm conditions are flooding and road closures. The intent of today's collective preparation session was to reassure St. Louis County residents that plans, equipment and personnel are in place to handle what the region faces this weekend, organizers said.
Metro West Battalion Chief John Bradley said at the meeting he thinks the emergency teams are ready, but it all depends on how much rain St. Louis receives in a short amount of time.
"It could be as much as 5 inches, or it could be a steady soaking," he said. "The weather reports continue to change hour to hour."
Jim Kramper, of the National Weather Service's St. Louis office, said the speed with which the Isaac-related rainfall comes is key. He said they now have a better handle on Isaac with it being on land for a number of hours.
Kramper added that the storm is moving slower than anticipated. They currently expect Isaac to reach center Southwest Missouri (Springfield area) by late Friday. He said the heaviest rainfall from tropical storms occurs in the central part of the track and to the east of the track, so monitoring the direction the storm takes once it hits Missouri may adjust plans.
"Having 5 inches of rainfall over 24 hours is not so bad," Kramper said. "Having that same amount in 12 hours prompts substantial flooding in urban areas."
As of noon today, National Weather Service officials predict 3 to 5 inches of rainfall to hit the St. Louis region when Tropical Depression Isaac arrives locally, sometime between Friday evening to Saturday morning.