Flood preparations are taking center stage in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis
District. Col. Thomas O'Hara, District Commander, activated the emergency operations center at 6:30 a.m. Friday to increase awareness and to be better prepared to meet any emerging situations.
The activation is in response to predicted precipitation and river stages.
St. Louis District emergency experts caution people who live along or travel near are rivers to be watchful for any changing conditions. Particularly, they should never drive into water on roads. An apparently small amount of water can have surprising force. They suggest finding an alternate route.
"The Corps is fully committed to reducing the risk of floods damages," said O'Hara. "The activation is one of the measures we take to better position ourselves to respond to high water events and get our teams out in the field to work with our partners."
O'Hara added that the St. Louis District conducts annual flood preparedness workshops with levee district officials, emergency management officials and other state and federal agencies. Four such workshops were held this March across the St. Louis District.
Corps personnel on flood fight teams have contacted drainage and levee districts to coordinate flood fighting activities and ensure supplies such as sand bags, pumps and plastic are available if needed. Flood fight teams are an interdisciplinary teams comprised of project managers and engineers. The size of the team will vary, depending on the river conditions and how large their area is.
Once the teams are on site, their activities include measuring freeboard, which is the difference in elevation between the level of the water and the top of the levee. This information is then compared to the forecasted river crest to determine how much, if any, flood fighting will be necessary.