FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2010


State Emergency Management Agency advises Missourians to be prepared for localized flooding, remember safe driving rules

State agencies monitoring conditions as forecast calls for possibility of more storms and additional flash flooding

After significant flash flooding in areas of northeast Missouri Tuesday, and with the forecast calling for the possibility of more storms, the State Emergency Management Agency is reminding Missourians to be prepared for localized flooding and to drive cautiously because water on roadways can be deceptively dangerous. 
Seven or more inches of rain fell in some areas of northeast Missouri over the last 24 hours, leading to road closures, and flash flooding that affected homes and businesses and that led to numerous evacuations by emergency responders.
"The weather forecast is calling for the possibility of more heavy rain and the potential for flash flooding through Wednesday," said State Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Parmenter.  "Because the ground is already saturated and rivers and streams are already running high, residents in low lying and flood prone areas should be ready for possible flooding.  All motorists should be sure to drive with extra caution.”
Flash flood watches are in effect through Wednesday, July 21, for areas of Missouri north of Interstate 70.  According to the National Weather Service forecast, thunderstorms are expected to redevelop Tuesday afternoon and evening in northern Missouri.  Severe weather and heavy rain will be possible with these systems.  Thunderstorms are also possible on Wednesday in northern Missouri.
The Missouri State Water Patrol and the Missouri State Highway Patrol assisted in  evacuating residents in northeast Missouri on Tuesday and the Highway Patrol assisted in closing roads due to flash flooding.  SEMA is coordinating with local officials in identifying needs and providing assistance as needed.
An executive order from Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday extended a statewide emergency declaration for severe storms and flooding, originally declared on June 21, until Aug. 19, 2010.  All Missourians should remember these driving tips:
§ Never drive through fast-moving water; less than 6 inches of fast-moving water can sweep a slow-moving vehicle off the roadway
§ If your vehicle becomes stuck in rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground but be careful not to step into a flooded ditch along the road.
§ Respect barriers or barricades put in place by MoDOT -- they are there to protect you, do not go around them.
§ Even though roads may appear safe, it is important to slow down and proceed cautiously.  Water over the road might look like it is only a foot or two deep but it might be more like five or six feet deep
§ Drivers need to slow down, turn on their headlights, and be prepared to stop in slick and low visibility conditions.  Motorists are also encouraged to drive defensively especially at night when it is harder to see rising water levels or water over a road.
If flash flooding is likely in your area, you should listen to the radio or television for information and be prepared to move to higher ground.  If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
§ Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor. § Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you have to leave your home, remember not to walk through moving water.  Six inches of moving water can make you fall.  If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving.  Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you. Motorists are urged to check with the Missouri Department of Transportation's updated road conditions Internet site: www.modot.mo.gov then click on the Travel Information on the right side menu.
Citizens who need disaster information, shelter information and referrals are urged to call 2-1-1.  The 2-1-1 service is now available in most areas of Missouri.  In areas where the 2-1-1 service is not operational, residents may call (800) 427-4626. Updated information on flood levels also is available on the state's website, MO.gov.

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For more information, call 573-751-4819 or e-mail [email protected]