CPS and USPS respond to Mid-Missouri flooding

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COLUMBIA - Flooding in Mid-Missouri has left several roads underwater and barricaded, which affected school bus and mail routes over the past few days.

Monday morning, Columbia Public Schools had to use several alternate bus routes to avoid flooded roads. 

"Anytime we've had flooding in the past few years, there are common areas where that happens," said Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark. "People are pretty well aware."

CPS employs Student Transportation of America as its bus company. Student busing runs on a timed tiered system, where students are sorted into tiers one, two and three based on distance and location. When drivers have to take a different route, the delays trickle down from tier to tier and affect rides for the entire morning, Baumstark said.

CPS sent out text alerts to families letting them know several road closures would cause delays.

As the water came up quickly on Saturday, the United States Postal Service also felt the strains of flooded roads. USPS had several offices blocked in Missouri, preventing the transportation of outgoing mail.

"We did have some extra collection runs, special runs scheduled [Sunday] to get into those areas when the water did recede," said USPS Missouri Media Contact Stacy St. John.

Special collection runs are set up strictly to pull mail out of obstructed offices and take it to a delivery plant.

"The communities understand that when something like this happens there just isn't a lot we can control in the situation," St. John said. "But it is important to continue to communicate with our customers what the evacuation or emergency plan is."

Most of the obstructed offices were near Branson, with a lot of devastation at the West Plains USPS location, and several submerged P.O. boxes in Pulaski County, St. John said.

St. John added this kind of quick unsuspected flooding isn't a common problem for USPS, but it has yearly training on flash flooding for its employees.

"That's a conversation that we start having with our employees and our carriers, making sure that they're able to quickly recognize that there are flash flooding concerns in their areas on their routes. Their safety is our first priority," St. John said.

As of Monday afternoon, no MODOT roads are closed in Boone County, but there are still several closings in surrounding counties such as Cooper, Callaway and Cole. Some Boone County roads remained closed, and the Boone County Office of Emergency Management will continue to update their site as roads reopen or new closings occur.