Kansas Adjutant General's Department
8/6/2013
Contact: Public Affairs Office- Catherine Horner
Email: catherine.f.horner.nfg@mail.mil

(785) 646-1192
www.kansastag.gov
     
13-080 State officials urge Kansans to be cautious as flood warnings remain in parts of state
 

Ron Kaufman
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
785-296-2870

Aimee Rosenow
Kansas Department of Health and Environment
785-368-8053

Flood warnings remain in effect for a number of areas across central, south central and southeast Kansas. Overnight storms dumped an additional two to four inches of rain over much of southern Kansas with more rain expected across the region through the rest of the week.

Flooding has claimed one life in the past week and two individuals were safely rescued from the Kansas River at Wamego Monday.  

Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management and the adjutant general, noted that floods, especially flash floods, cause more deaths each year than any other weather-related phenomenon and urged everyone to use extreme caution in flood areas.

"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."

Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Robin Jennison warned Kansans about being near a rain-swollen stream or river.

"I want to urge people to avoid playing in or around a flooded stream," he said. "There may be dangerous floating debris, hidden underwater obstacles, and treacherous currents. 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." 

Flood waters also pose various health risks, including infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries. Eating or drinking anything that has come in contact with flood waters could cause disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Open wounds and rashes exposed to flood water can become infected as well. Keep open wounds as clean as possible by washing with soap and clean water, cover open wounds with a waterproof bandage and avoid exposure to flood waters if you have an open wound or rash. Flood waters may have moved hazardous chemical containers from their normal storage places and can contain glass or metal fragments that can cause injury and lead to infection. Do not allow children to play in flood waters or with toys contaminated with flood waters. 

"To protect yourself and your family from possible chemicals and diseases carried in flood water, it is important to practice good hygiene by washing hands frequently and always before meals," said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. "As soon as possible after direct contact with flood waters, thoroughly wash with soap and water." "Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or ill from any exposure."

Shelter transitioning to standby status in Reno County:

Shelters were opened at Our Lady of Guadalupe and Trinity United Methodist Church in Hutchinson for people displaced by flood waters. The Our Lady of Guadalupe shelter has been closed and other arrangements made for the people who were staying there. The Trinity United Methodist shelter will be transitioning to a standby status later today.  

Current Flood Warnings:

Flood warnings are in effect for rivers and streams in Cherokee, Coffey, Cowley, Harvey, Labette, Lyon, Montgomery, Reno, Rice, Sedgwick, Sumner and Wilson Counties. Local disaster declarations have been issued in Barton, Bourbon, Chase, Clay, Cloud, Crawford, Dickinson, Greenwood, Harvey, Lyon, McPherson, Pratt, Reno and Rice Counties.

County Declarations:

Several counties have issued local disaster declarations and provided written or verbal notification of KDEM. These include Barton, Bourbon, Chase, Clay, Cloud, Crawford, Dickinson, Greenwood, Harvey,  Lyon, McPherson, Rice, and Reno.

More Rain Forecast Across Kansas:

Forecasts call for some scattered showers and thunderstorms across northern and northeast Kansas this afternoon into this evening with better chances for precipitation through the overnight hours. Some of these thunderstorms could be strong to severe. Additional periods of showers and thunderstorms are expected Wednesday through Friday morning, which could result in heavy rainfall and areas of additional flooding.

Rivers at Flood Stage:

Several stream/river gauges are reporting moderate or minor flood stages

Moderate Flooding:

  • Cottonwood River at Emporia: Has crested and is currently falling. Predicted to fall below flood stage late Wednesday.
  • Neosho River at Neosho Rapids: Has crested and is currently falling.  Predicted to fall below flood stage Wednesday.

Minor Flooding:

  • Cow Creek at Lyons: Has crested and is currently falling and should be below flood stage today.
  • Little Arkansas River at Alta Mills: Has crested and is currently falling and should be below flood stage today.
  • Little Arkansas River near Halstead: Has crested and s currently falling. River should be below flood stage very early on Wednesday.
  • Little Arkansas River near Sedgwick: Has crested and is currently falling and should be below flood stage today.
  • Arkansas River at Oxford: Has crested and is currently falling. River should be below flood stage very early on Wednesday.
  • Arkansas River at Arkansas City: Has crested and is falling. River should fall below flood stage on Thursday.
  • Verdigris River at Coffeyville: Has crested and is falling. River should be below flood stage late tonight/ very early on Wednesday.
  • Verdigris River at Independence: River has crested and is falling. River should be below flood stage late tonight/ very early on Wednesday.

Flood Safety Evacuation Tips:

If you must evacuate the area, the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers the following advice:

  • 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. Unplug electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Take essential documents (http://www.ready.gov/evacuating-yourself-and-your-family)

Additional tips to consider:

  • United Way’s 2-1-1 is a helpful resource before, during and after disasters. Keeping this number and an up-to-date family communication plan handy is a must-do when preparing for emergencies.
  • Keep emergency supplies on hand, such as non-perishable food, medicine, maps, a flashlight and first-aid kit.
  • Use extreme caution when returning to flood damaged homes or businesses.

For more information on flood safety tips and information, visit www.ready.gov/floods; Spanish-language web site www.listo.gov

For information on how to obtain a flood insurance policy, visit www.floodsmart.gov

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