Gov. Jay Nixon today declared a state of emergency after heavy rain led to flash flooding and at least one fatality in Pulaski County.
This morning, Gov. Nixon spoke with emergency response and elected officials from Pulaski County and Waynesville to tell them the state of Missouri would continue to provide any assistance needed. The Governor said weather patterns forecast for Missouri over the next few days indicate that flooding could continue to cause serious problems.
"Parts of southern Missouri have been hit with heavy rain for several days, causing deadly flash-flooding, and that threat is not over," Gov. Nixon said. "We have moved resources into the region to assist local authorities, but it is extremely important for the public in affected areas to pay close attention to weather conditions, have an evacuation plan and immediately move to higher ground if needed."
The Missouri State Highway Patrol has deployed additional marine operations troopers, a rescue helicopter and associated assets to the region to assist local emergency responders. At the Governor's direction, those resources will remain in place until the threat has passed. The State Emergency Management Agency is actively monitoring conditions and will continue to work with local response agencies to provide additional support as needed.
The Governor's executive order also activates the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services.
The Governor urged residents of flood-affected areas of southern Missouri 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.