Gov. Jay Nixon today signed Executive Order 11-18, which directs the Missouri National Guard to coordinate and supervise the state's efforts in preparing for and responding to imminent flooding along the Missouri River and its tributaries.
Gov. Nixon surveyed the flooding situation in northwest Missouri last week and met with local officials about flood preparations in St. Joseph. The Governor also has been in regular communication with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the past two weeks.
"As we said last week, the risk of flooding is real and imminent," Gov. Nixon said. "Our preparations at the state level have been thorough, and our ongoing response will be robust. The National Guard will work directly with local law enforcement and emergency management agencies to ensure that from west to east, Missourians and their property are protected."
Two Colonels from the Missouri National Guard, Colonel Greg Mason and Colonel Wendul Hagler, will oversee two task forces that will coordinate flood preparation and response in the eastern and western portions of the state. Colonel Mason will lead Task Force Missouri, which will focus on the western portion of the state; while Colonel Hagler will lead Task Force Mississippi, which will focus on the east.
Additionally, Colonel Mike Pankau, commander of the 139th Airlift Wing, will lead a separate task force which will focus specifically on flood preparations at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St. Joseph and throughout Buchanan County.
"These proven leaders have the expertise and the experience to direct and execute this critical mission," Gov. Nixon said. "I have met personally with Colonel Hagler, Colonel Mason and Colonel Pankau and they have already begun to coordinate these vital efforts. We will provide the tools and support they need at every stage of this fight."
Releases from major dams along the Missouri River, including at Gavins Point, are already higher than they have ever been. By the middle of this month, the Corps of Engineers will be releasing 150,000 cubic feet of water per second from Gavins Point, which will be more than twice the amount the Corps has ever released before. This flooding will pose significant risk to Missourians and their property.
"We are prepared. We are ready. And we will fight this flood across Missouri," Gov. Nixon said.