Gov. Jay Nixon was in eastern Missouri today to meet with local and emergency response officials, and to assess damage from severe storms, flooding and at least two confirmed tornadoes in those areas. The Governor conducted aerial and ground tours of affected areas, including communities in St. Charles County where he was joined by St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann and other officials.
"Missouri has been hit by several rounds of severe storms in the past few weeks, and last night's dangerous weather follows several days of heavy rain," Gov. Nixon said. "I want to assure Missourians that the state will continue to work closely with local communities. Because many streams and rivers are overflowing their banks, we will need to stay vigilant in both monitoring and responding to flooding across the state as well. This remains a dangerous situation."
Before he assessed damage in St. Charles County, Gov. Nixon earlier today conducted an aerial and ground tour of Meramec State Park in Franklin and Crawford counties, which has been affected by severe flooding.
The Governor also received a briefing from officials with the National Weather Service regarding the weather outlook for Missouri, as flooding continues to pose a threat in many parts of the state as rivers and streams continue to rise. Authorities have confirmed three deaths from high water; those occurred in Lawrence, Miller and Reynolds counties. Over the past 36 hours, Highway Patrol Troopers, local law enforcement and other first responders have responded to numerous calls throughout Missouri because of flooded roadways and rivers, and have assisted in several rescues.
Gov. Nixon urged Missourians 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.
Last night, Gov. Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri as a widespread severe weather system continued to move across the state, bringing heavy rain, hail, straight-line winds, flooding and radar-indicated tornadoes.
The State Emergency Operations Center has been actively monitoring the storm system this week. Gov. Nixon also has been receiving updates from his emergency management team, including senior officials from the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Missouri National Guard, Missouri State Highway Patrol and State Emergency Management Agency to assess the current weather situation and address local needs.
Gov. Nixon has also activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services.