A series of severe storm systems this week continue to move through Missouri, prompting Governor Jay Nixon (D) to declare a state of emergency. More flooding is expected, especially in areas where levees may be overtopped in west-central Missouri. Since Tuesday, storms in Missouri have caused high winds, heavy rains, flooding and flash flooding, and additional rain is predicted tonight and tomorrow for much of the state.
“Areas along the Missouri River and its tributaries in west-central Missouri are of particular concern because more rain could cause some levees to overtop,” Nixon said. “State emergency management personnel will continue to work with local officials and law enforcement to assess and closely monitor the risk to the levees, and take appropriate action if needed.”
The State Emergency Operations Center has been actively monitoring the storm system, and Nixon has been receiving updates from his emergency management team to assess the current weather situation and address local needs. The team includes senior officials from the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Missouri National Guard, Missouri State Highway Patrol and the State Emergency Management Agency. The Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan also has been activated, allowing state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services.
Residents of flood-affected areas of Missouri are urged to pay close attention to weather warnings and follow the safety instructions of local officials as the potential for additional dangerous flooding continues. Missourians, especially motorists, are encouraged to remember these important safety tips on flooding and high water:
*Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
*Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
*A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups. Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, don’t try it. Water hides dips in the road. Worse yet, there may be no road at all under the water. Flooding can scour away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath.
Missourians who need disaster information, shelter information, and referrals are urged to call 211. The 211 service is now available throughout Missouri.
For information for your area, tune in to your Missourinet affiliate station and visit these Weather Service office websites.
For more information on road closures, visit the Missouri Department of Transportation’s traveler information map.