Following heavy rain and severe storms, Governor Laura Kelly again encouraged Kansans in areas experiencing flooding to be cautious and follow warnings and instructions from local emergency officials. The Kansas Division of Emergency Management coordinates statewide emergency response and enhances local emergency efforts.
“Kansas is experiencing extreme weather and rain on an already saturated river and reservoir system,” Kelly said. “As a result, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing for the potential of a controlled release of water from certain reservoirs. If you are told to evacuate, please do so immediately.”
Many towns and cities are experiencing flooding due to significant rain in recent days. This follows unusually high levels of rain and snow earlier this year. Rivers, creeks, lakes, and reservoirs are full.
“It is absolutely critical that people follow warnings from local officials,” Kelly stressed. “If you are in an area that could potentially flood, start preparing now. Gather supplies for each person’s specific needs and don’t forget your family pets.”
For additional information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visit:
Additional Flooding Safety Information:
- Avoid flood water. Do not drive, swim, walk or play near flood water. Turn around, don’t drown.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Never drive around barricades. Local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas.
- Depending on where you are and the impact and the warning time of flooding, go to the safe location that you have previously identified.
- Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
- Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication.
- Don’t forget the needs of pets.
- Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
- Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
- Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.
- For more information about preparing for flood response, visit:https://www.ready.gov/floods
To obtain information about current road closures in your local area, visit: www.kandrive.org
Kansans are encouraged to avoid flooded roads. Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, stressed the importance of not underestimating the force and power of water.
“It only takes about a foot of water to float a car,” said Tafanelli. “Two feet of rushing water can carry away most SUVs and pick-up trucks. Flood waters move swiftly and can quite easily knock you off your feet and sweep you away. So, please, heed all warning signs and safety barriers. Don’t try to wade or drive through flooded areas. Turn around, don’t drown.”
State Park Closures:
Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest weekends for its state parks in Kansas, safety must be the top priority. For flood alerts in State Parks, visit: https://ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks/State-Park-Alerts
Conditions are changing frequently. Please, contact your local parks directly for updates on park conditions.
According to Tafanelli, Kansans should not swim, walk, or play in flooded streams or lakes.
“There may be dangerous floating debris, hidden underwater obstacles, and treacherous currents,” Tafanelli said. “Don’t try to launch a boat or swim in the water. Even fishing or walking along the bank can be dangerous because the bank may be slippery or easily collapse. Flood waters demand our utmost respect.”
Visit www.weather.gov for the weather affecting your area. Also monitor local media outlets for weather alerts and safety warnings in your area.
In the event of an emergency, call 911. For non-emergency assistance, contact local law enforcement and first responders. The Kansas Division of Emergency Management works directly with them. All requests for local assistance should be initiated through the county emergency manager.