July 1, 2015

Missouri firefighters head to Alaska to help battle wildfires

Firefighters from Missouri will be helping out with wildfires in Alaska. Mark Twain National Forest Fire Program Manager Jody Eberly told Missourinet five Missouri firefighters are on their way to help that region.

wildfireEberly said the group will be serving in Alaska for two weeks at a time and go back as needed.

“We’ll probably have some more people that will be available to help with that effort all summer,” said Eberly.

She says they have firefighters that go wherever a need is.

“We are a part of a larger national effort,” said Eberly. “Each year we probably send several hundred people out to help on other wildfires. Most of the wildfires you see on the national news have several hundred to several thousand people helping. We can ramp up or ramp down depending upon the complexity and situation of each individual fire.”

A long hot dry spell has parched forests and tundras, causing high fire danger in the Alaska region. Approximately 2,000 personnel from that region and the lower 48 states are helping in Alaska where almost 200 fires are burning.

 

 

 

 

Army Corps of Engineers changes river plan to help with flooding

The Army Corps of Engineers is reducing the water levels in the Missouri River. Jody Farhat with the Corps told Missourinet the move is in response to the heavy rainfall lately in the region.

missouririver

Missouri River

“We reduced the releases further, trying to provide the maximum flood risk reduction in Missouri in particular.”

Farhat says more water will be held in the reservoirs upstream on the Missouri to help combat flooding.  Only about 30% of the flood control capacity is currently being used, so there’s more space if the wet pattern continues.

Farhat says it’s a dangerous time to be doing anything on the river. She says much of the river section between Kansas City and St. Louis is still above flood stage.

Missouri Governor declares state of emergency for flooding, rains

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in response to heavy rain and flooding, with more expected as the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill pass through the state through tomorrow.

Photos of flooding 4 miles west of Ava, Missouri (Debbie Wray, Twitter)

Photos of flooding 4 miles west of Ava, Missouri (Debbie Wray, Twitter)

The declaration means state emergency management personnel and the Highway Patrol will assist local communities in flood response.

Missouri has already seen the closure of many roads and some flash flooding, and agencies are warning that more could occur particularly on the state’s smaller rivers.

See the Governor’s order declaring a state of emergency

Earlier stories:

MODOT: With more rain coming avoid flooded Missouri roads

Remnants of Bill to cause flooding in Missouri

Remnants of Bill to cause flooding in Missouri

Major flooding is expected on some of the state’s smaller rivers in the next two days, as the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill hit Missouri.

Flooding along US 61 between Ste. Genevieve and St. Mary's near Eddie and Rick Lane (courtesy; National Weather Service)

Flooding along US 61 between Ste. Genevieve and St. Mary’s near Eddie and Rick Lane (courtesy; National Weather Service)

The National Weather Service is predicting what remains of Bill to reach southern Missouri around midnight Friday morning, and it could dump another three to give inches or rain on the southeastern two-thirds of Missouri.

“By the time this is done, we fully expect to see some locations in Missouri will receive 10-plus inches of rain by the time the week is done,” according to Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jim Kramper.

The smaller rivers are the ones Kramper says the Weather Service is the most concerned about.

“The Meramec at Valley Park, the Illinois River at La Grange, the Black River, the Big River, potentially the Bourbeuse, the Gasconade, the Maries, the Moreau River … those smaller rivers are the ones that are going to react very, very quickly, especially once we do get that rainfall from Bill coming up here,” said Kramper.

The Missouri and Mississippi Rivers will remain in flood stages, but are only expected to reach what the Weather Service terms, “moderate,” flooding at most locations.

“The exception for the Mississippi will be … Chester, Illinois. It is expected to hit major flood level,” said Kramper.

The Mississippi River at Chester is expected to reach 41.9 feet. At 35 feet, U.S. Highway 61 in St. Genevieve County begins to flood.

“Anyone that’s living in low-lying, flood prone areas, living near creeks and streams, really needs to monitor the river forecast. Also anyone that travels regularly on roads that are along streams and creeks and low water crossings, they really need to monitor the situation in the next few days,” said meteorologist Gary Schmoecker.

“We already had one death last evening in Sullivan,” said Schmoecker. “Sometimes when you get heavy rain and flooding, people are aware usually where the low water crossings are but sometimes you get an event like this that produces some very unusual flooding … certain areas may have flooding that is very unusual that hasn’t happened before in many, many years.”

Kramper says the Weather Service will also be watching the remnants of Bill for possible severe weather.

“Tropical systems have a lot of rotation involved with them,” said Kramper. “If by chance the cloud shield weakens for a while during the day Friday, we get some sunshine popping up, that will get some thunderstorms popping up in those bands that we’ll see from Bill and that could lead to some small supercell storms that could have a lot of rotation.”

Twenty counties declared disaster areas

Twenty north Missouri counties hit by big storms September 9th and 10th have bee declared federal major disaster areas. The declaration will help counties recover from high straight-line winds and more than nine inches of rain that led to closing of seventy roads including Interstate 29 and Highway 36.

The declaration will allow counties to get federal aid for repairs to roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure.

Twenty north Missouri counties hit by big storms September 9th and 10th have bee declared federal major disaster areas. The declaration will help counties recover from high straight-line winds and more than nine inches of rain that led to closing of seventy roads including Interstate 29 and Highway 36.

The declaration will allow counties to get federal aid for repairs to roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure.

Counties covered by the declaration are (in alphabetical order): Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Daviess, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Mercer, Nodaway, Putnam, Ralls, Shelby, Sullivan, and Worth.