Department of Public Safety preparing for potential weekend flooding
COLUMBIA — The Missouri Department of Public Safety is preparing to respond to potential dangerous flooding in the forecast beginning Friday evening through Sunday evening.
The department said it deployed personnel and equipment to respond to the flooding, including the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Missouri National Guard, the Division of Fire Safety and the State Emergency Management Facility.
The Director of State Emergency Management Facility, Ernie Rhodes, said Gov. Greitens directed the department to start acquiring resources for the weekend.
"Flash floods occur quick. Many people who die in weather related events are from flash floods and flooding," Rhodes said. "So, we had to start acquiring resources such as rescue teams, flood fighting equipment such as sand bags and automatic sandbag machines."
Rhodes also said the State Emergency Operations Center is fully staffed and will work with local first responders and emergency managers to help coordinate response throughout the weekend.
"The way we have got our system designed is that we are here to support the local communities. So, if somebody is in danger and they need help, they call their local emergency center, 9-1-1 or the number that their county issues for calling in state of emergency," he said.
Rhodes also said to pay close attention to the forecast.
"When your area is affected by a flash flood warning, pay attention. Where are you? Are you in a low lying area? Is the home you live in subject to frequent flooding? If so, than you need to go to higher ground," he said.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety released the following facts about flash flooding:
- More than half of those filled by flooding are in vehicles and drive into floodwaters.
- Less than a foot of moving water is enough to push a vehicle.
- Low water crossing are among the most dangerous spots. Never attempt to cross one that is flooded.
The department also recommends Missourians take these precaution in areas affected by flash flooding:
- When a flash flood warning is issued in your area, go to higher ground immediately.
- Do not attempt to cross flowing streams on foot. Six inches of water is enough to knock you off your feet.
- If your vehicle becomes stuck in rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground because rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and sweep it away.