National Guard deployed, assisting MO communities as river level - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

National Guard deployed, assisting MO communities as river levels continue to rise

(Source: Stephanie McCoy-Auler/Facebook) (Source: Stephanie McCoy-Auler/Facebook)
(KFVS) -

Gov. Jay Nixon announced that Missouri National Guard troops activated in response to historic flooding have been deployed to help protect citizens and support emergency response personnel in communities from Mount Sterling to Perryville.

In Valley Park, where the flooded Meramec River has forced a partial evacuation, the Guard has been tasked with providing security assistance and staffing traffic control points into the evacuated area. 

“Rivers are continuing to rise to historic levels and these citizen-soldiers are providing vital assistance to communities – including providing security in evacuated areas and augmenting flood-fighting efforts,” Gov. Nixon said.

Nixon also spoke with President Obama Wednesday to update him on conditions in Missouri.  

“Many state and local responders have been working tirelessly for days and the Guard assistance is important as the flood threat continues and needs continue to grow,” Gov. Nixon said. “I urge Missourians in flood-affected areas to put safety first and stay away from flooded roadways and other hazards.” 

The governor activated the Guard on Monday afternoon to help provide security in evacuated areas, traffic control along road closures and health and wellness checks.

National Guard liaison officers are coordinating with civil authorities in emergency operations centers in Cape Girardeau, Franklin, Jefferson, Perry, St. Charles and St. Louis counties to enable requests for Guard support. 

This afternoon, Gov. Nixon met with local officials and emergency response leaders in Pacific and toured flood-fighting efforts in the Franklin County community, currently one of the hardest hit by the record flooding in Missouri. Hundreds of homes and businesses have been flooded and the Meramec River is expected to crest 20 feet over flood stage in Pacific this week.

Gov. Nixon and senior members of his emergency management team conducted an aerial survey of flood-affected areas, including Pacific, Valley Park, High Ridge, Arnold and Kimmswick in a Missouri National Guard Black Hawk helicopter.  

Interstate 44 in the area was forced to close in both directions due to flooding Wednesday morning, the first time flooding has forced a closure there since 1982. A 24 mile stretch of I-44 is now closed from Interstate 270 in St. Louis County to the Highway 100 exit in Gray Summit in Franklin County. About 100,000 vehicles a day travel I-44 near Highway 141 in St. Louis County. 

Gov. Nixon said the number of people who have died due to the flooding has now risen to 14 with the recovery of the body of a motorist whose vehicle was swept off a road in Crawford County.

He said the flooding will affect more areas in the coming days as river levels along the Mississippi and many of its tributaries continue to rise, affecting more of the services that people rely on. 

“This historic flooding event will continue to cause significant hazards and disruptions – from Missourians being forced from their homes, to businesses temporarily closing, to traffic congestion and impacts on interstate commerce due to the closure of a major trucking corridor,” Gov. Nixon said. “I thank the many Missourians who are assisting their neighbors by providing rooms in their homes, helping with sandbagging efforts and countless other acts of kindness.”

The governor urged people in flood affected areas to be alert for warnings or instructions from local officials and media updates in response to changing conditions. He provided these safety messages:

•    Do not drive around barriers put in place by MoDOT or local jurisdictions. In many instances, flooding has extended to areas that have not flooded in the past and flooding of flood-prone roads may reach levels not seen before.
•    Warn children of the danger of flood water. Drain openings at the bottom of culverts and ditches can create powerful currents and suction that can sweep people in. 
•    Remember cold water and air temperatures can quickly cause hypothermia for those exposed.   
The State Emergency Operations Center continues to monitor conditions and coordinate response activities with local partners24 hours a day. Gov. Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri in response to record rainfall and flooding on Sunday (Dec. 27).  

Missourians who need disaster information, shelter information and referrals are urged to call 211.

For more information on road closures, visit the Missouri Department of Transportation’s traveler information map.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly