Governor Parson Declares State of Emergency in Response to Severe Weather and Ongoing Flooding

MAY 21, 2019

Governor Mike Parson today declared a state of emergency in Missouri in response to continuing severe weather and forecasts for tornadoes, strong straight-line winds, hail, heavy rainfall, and worsening flooding due to prolonged soil inundation throughout the state.

Since Monday, there have been numerous instances of flash flooding in urban areas and along rivers, creeks, and streams with the National Weather Service forecasting additional severe weather threats into early Wednesday, May 22. On Monday and Tuesday, first responders performed water rescues due to flash flooding in Jasper and Newton counties. On Monday night, a severe storm flipped campers in Wheatland, in Hickory County, sending four people to the hospital.

“Missouri is experiencing a very dangerous severe storm system with multiple threats that must be taken seriously,” Governor Parson said. “The very heavy rainfall yesterday and today, combined with saturated soil and very high water levels on many rivers and streams have created dangerous conditions around the state. I urge all Missourians to closely follow their local weather forecasts, take storm warnings seriously, and quickly act to protect themselves and their families when necessary.”

The Governor said the state emergency management team is also closely monitoring river levels on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and tributaries, which are expected to rise again through the weekend. He said the state will continue to work closely with local partners to assess needs and direct resources to assist communities fight flooding.

Governor Parson also activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions. At 1 p.m. today, the State Emergency Operation Center was activated to Level 3, due to the enhanced risk of severe weather and increased flooding across Missouri.

Governor Parson reminded Missourians to always be careful around flooded areas and understand the risks floodwater poses.

  • Standing water can carry infectious diseases and hide hazards, including road damage, glass, and sewage.
  • Storm drains can create an extremely dangerous situation for anyone caught in the current.
  • Avoid walking through floodwater and keep children from playing in it.
  • Never attempt to drive over flooded roads.

On Monday, President Donald Trump approved Governor Parson’s request for a major disaster declaration to help local governments and nonprofit agencies in 13 Missouri counties recover from devastating flooding and severe storms that occurred from March 11 to April 16. The declaration makes federal assistance available for the repair of damaged roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure, along with emergency response costs associated with the storms and flooding in Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Holt, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Platte, Ray, and Ste. Genevieve counties. The Governor’s April 24 request said $25 million in qualifying expenses had already been identified.