Hannibal Courier-Post

Gov. Greitens activates National Guard, warns of more flooding

Courier-Post Reports
Posted: Apr. 30, 2017 6:54 pm

On Sunday, April 30, Gov. Eric Greitens held a press conference at the State Emergency Operations Center, where he announced that the National Guard has been activated and warned of more flooding to come. The conference was live-streamed on https://www.facebook.com/EricGreitens/videos/10155259536154747/
Greitens said, "This weekend, families across Missouri have seen dangerous storms and flash flooding threaten their safety and their homes. Earlier this week, when weather forecasts warned this might occur, I declared a state of emergency and directed our public safety team to develop a response plan.
“Local first responders, the State Emergency Management Agency, Fire Mutual Aid, the Missouri National Guard, Missouri’s Task Force 1, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, including their swift water rescue teams, stepped into action and deployed resources in the areas expected to be hardest hit.”

He reported that as of 3 p.m. Sunday, “These teams have conducted 111 evacuations and 136 rescue operations, saving the lives of hundreds of our fellow citizens. Courageous, capable men and women have been operating in these dangerous conditions. Families trapped on the roofs of their homes due to rising water, drivers who lost control on flooded roads… lives have been saved by our first responders.
“There have been two confirmed fatalities as a result of this storm. And we mourn those Missourians and pray for their families today. This is serious. Stay safe. Stay off the road if you can. If you must drive, slow down and be alert. You might not see high water before it’s too late. Do not try to drive through high water. Turn around. Don’t drown. If you’re at home, and it becomes clear that a flash flood is imminent, be prepared to move. Get to high ground. Climb to safety, and stay away from rising water.
“Many people stay inside when it is raining, but then venture out once the rain stops. While the rain may have stopped in your area, floods and danger remain; 80 percent of casualties in situations like this come from people interacting with rushing water. Please keep yourselves and your children safe.
“If you or your family find yourself in an emergency situation, call 911 immediately. Hundreds of homes have been affected, and Red Cross shelters are active across the state. Tonight and early tomorrow, we will remain focused on response and rescue operations. While at the same time, preparing for the next phase of this emergency; which will be flood-fighting.
“We expect major new flooding, including but not limited to the Meramec, Gasconade and Mississippi rivers. In many parts of Missouri, this will be a flood of historic proportions. For example, the Current river at Van Buren highest recorded flood was 29 Feet. We are anticipating 37 feet by Tuesday morning.
“That’s why today I signed an executive order, activating the National Guard and ordering that they be prepared to move hundreds, perhaps thousands of troops to assist in flood-fighting operations across the state. These floods may well be deep and destructive. We will keep you updated as we get more information.
“Finally, while our focus is on response and rescue operations, we are also looking ahead to and actively planning for recovery operations. Our team has been in touch with the White House throughout this disaster. They stand ready to bring relief if and when the threshold of a federal disaster declaration is reached. Damage assessment teams, including local Emergency Management Directors and Civil Engineers, will be active, monitoring the damage and preparing to help families as we begin the recovery effort. It’s important for everyone to recognize, again, that some of the flooding we are seeing in parts of Missouri has surpassed historic levels. There are certain places that have seen water levels several feet higher than any level in Missouri history. Some bridges and structures have already been washed out. What this means is that, even as the waters recede, our top priority remains your safety. The Missouri Department of Transportation, Highway Patrol, and others will be actively monitoring and inspecting bridges and roads before they are reopened.
“I’ve been exceptionally impressed by the courageous efforts of first responders and professionals from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, State Emergency Management Agency, Missouri Department of Transportation, Fire Mutual Aid and Missouri National Guard. The best thing you can do for the State of Missouri in the next 48 hours is make sure that you and your family remain safe so that first responders can continue their important work. We’re going to get through this together."