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WEATHER ALERT: Severe storms expected late this afternoon and evening

Southern Illinois storm spares lives, spoils soybeans

A tractor-trailer lies capsized next to a Jasper County road on Aug. 2, 2022 after flash floods.

NEWTON — Parts of southern Illinois are recovering after a sudden storm dropped about ten inches of rain and hail in less than 24 hours.

No one was injured in Jasper County, according to the sheriff’s department. The casualties in this flash flood were the crops.

Farmer Richard Ochs says he expects the remaining flood waters to spoil some of his soybeans.

“Is [the water] going to stand? If it stands and it hits 90 degrees, she’s going to cook it pretty quick,” Ochs says.

Ochs says if this is the case, he could lose up to ten percent of this year’s income. The 81-year-old says he’s never seen flooding like this.

Climate scientists say climate change is making heavy rains more common.

Nearby, birds flutter up from where a field used to be before the flash floods started on Monday afternoon. A van advertising a flooring company lies capsized in the flood waters.

While there are no reported injuries, deaths, or property damage, police and fire departments spent Monday night rescuing motorists from flash floods in the area.

Brandon Francis is the sheriff in Jasper County, which has a population of about 10,000. He says he used his personal, fishing boat to rescue motorists during the storm.

“Anytime the weather’s bad, I have my boat hooked up to my truck. If I’m out in my squad, anyone can grab it,” Francis says.

The Wade Fire Protection District has another boat, and neighbors offered up more, he says.

The sheriff’s department teamed up with a mostly volunteer crew from the local fire department and emergency management agency.

As the rain slowed on Tuesday, crews focused on recovering the trucks and cars capsized next to county roads.

Emily Hays is a reporter for Illinois Public Media. Follow her on Twitter @amihatt.

Picture of Emily Hays

Emily Hays

Emily Hays started at WILL in October 2021 after three-plus years in local newsrooms in Virginia and Connecticut. She has won state awards for her housing coverage at Charlottesville Tomorrow and her education reporting at the New Haven Independent. Emily graduated from Yale University where she majored in History and South Asian Studies.

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