Divisions of the Missouri Department of Public Safety have deployed personnel and equipment to respond to dangerous flash flooding that is forecast to potentially affect much of Missouri beginning Friday evening and continuing through Sunday evening.
DPS divisions that have resources committed to the effort to protect the safety of Missourians include the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Missouri National Guard, the Division of Fire Safety and the State Emergency Management Agency. In addition, Missouri Task Force 1, housed at the Boone County Fire Protection District and whose assets include a swift water rescue team, has been deployed and staged in southern Missouri, which could see some of the highest rainfall totals.
The State Emergency Operations Center is staffed and will work with local first responders and emergency managers to help coordinate response throughout the weekend.
There is also the potential for severe thunderstorms for parts of Missouri today through Sunday, with the main risks being hail and damaging winds. Missourians should follow their local forecast and be prepared to take protective actions. The Missouri StormAware website includes videos on flash flooding safety as well severe weather safety videos.
Missourians should understand these facts about flooding:
· Flooding is the leading cause of weather-related fatalities in Missouri and the U.S.
· More than half of those killed by flooding are in vehicles and drive into floodwaters.
· Flash flooding is particularly dangerous at night or the early morning hours when motorists often cannot see they’re driving into floodwaters until it’s too late.
· Less than a foot of moving water is enough to push a vehicle.
· Low water crossings are among the most dangerous spots. Never attempt to cross one that is flooded.
Missourians should take these precautions in areas affected by flash flooding:
- When a is issued for your area, or the moment you realize that a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself.
· Do not attempt to cross flowing streams on foot. Even six inches of flowing water can knock you off your feet.
· Never let children play around high water, storm drains, or viaducts.
· Never drive past a barricade closing flooded roads. They are there to protect you.
· Never expect barriers to block off flooded low-water crossings, bridges or roads because flash flood waters often rise so quickly authorities do not have time to respond.
· 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.
Additional information and videos about safety during flooding can be found here: http://sema.dps.mo.gov/plan_and_prepare/flooding.php