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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

HERMANN MISSOURI: Flood Safety Guidelines: Released by City Chief of Police Frank Tennant

June 7, 2011
by Frank Tennant
Chief of Police, City of Hermann

As we approach summer this year it’s almost certain that we’ll have those high temperatures and high humidity days, but this summer it appears we’ll also have to contend with the rising water.  The Missouri River is expected to reach record levels in some areas of the Midwest.  There are very many variables to account for in predicting future floods.  The heavy winter and spring rains in the northern most portion of the Missouri River Basin have already caused the reservoirs in the north to become filled to capacity and mandated the Army Corps of Engineers to increase the release flow.  This additional water stresses levees all the way down to the mouth of the river at the Mississippi.  The Army Corps of Engineers began the additional releases during the first of this month and will continue throughout the summer.

Flood stage in Hermann is 21 feet.  According to the State Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service predict that the water level could reach 6 to 12 feet above flood stage based upon average summer precipitation.  That equates to 27 to 33 feet.  For comparison, the 1993 and 1995 floods crested at almost 37 feet and most recently, September 2008 when it reached a level of 31.34 feet.  Locally, Frene Creek backs up into Lions Field on Mozart Street and begins to flood around 25 feet followed by Gutenberg Street between E 3rd Street and E 4th Street at about 26 feet.  The upper level of Riverfront Park begins to flood around 29 feet.

As of today, the level in Hermann is 23.2 feet and predicted to recede over the next 7 days to a little under 22 feet.  Water levels in Gasconade, Chamois, Jefferson City and Booneville also fall and level out near flood stage over the next seven days.  However, water level at points between Booneville and Kansas City begin a slow rise about June 11th and 12th and should be expected to begin rising again in our immediate area a couple of days after that.

Many of us were not in Hermann in 1993 and 1995 and there have been many changes in our city since that time so we should try to compare then with now.  The closest level in recent history was 2008 when it reached a level of 31.34 and except for a few minor problems it was more of a nuisance than anything.  It is certain that the water is coming this summer beginning in the next couple weeks and most likely will be with us at some level until late August or early September.  The city has sand and sand bags stockpiled and will be able to acquire more from SEMA should we need it.  I personally monitor the water level and predictions several times a day and will continue to do so for the duration of the summer.

Flood safety and guidelines:

    * Avoid standing on top of steep cut banks along the shoreline.  Riverbanks can be unstable and prone to undermining erosion, bank sloughing, and mini landslides that can wash a person into the current.

* Do not allow children to play in flood waters.  Waters can be contaminated and, in some places, hidden holes, debris, and washouts lie under the surface.

* Do not 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.

* Do not drive through a flooded area.  During floods more people drown in their cars than anywhere else. If you come upon a road barrier, turn around and go another way.  If you must drive down a shallow water covered street, drive slowly and be courteous.   Vehicles will cause a wave of water that can cause further damage to property.  Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-ups.

* Stay away from power lines and electrical wire.  The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to the Power Company or local authorities immediately.

* Watch for animals – especially snakes.  Small animals may have been flooded from of their homes and may seek shelter in yours. Be aware they are just as scared of you as you are of them. You could use a pole or stick to poke and turn items over to scare away small animals.

* The Missouri River has been closed to recreational boating until further notice.  Missouri Water Patrol and Coast Guard will be strictly enforcing the prohibition.

* Do not drive around barricades that are blocking city streets.  Violators may be cited by local police.

* Situational Awareness: please keep abreast of the latest news, visit your local news outlet for safety and news updates.  Please follow the safety and precautionary guidelines.

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1 comment:

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