Governor Laura Kelly issued a state of disaster emergency declaration on May 9 due to severe storms and flooding for the following counties: Barber, Chase, Clark, Cowley, Geary, Greenwood, Harvey, Marion, Meade, Neosho, Osage, Ottawa, Reno, Rice and Sumner.
On May 10, the following counties were added to the governor’s declaration: Butler, Kingman, Pottawatomie and Wilson. Lyon County was added to the declaration May 13.
The state declaration may be amended to include additional counties as water levels continue to raise and drop.
The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria.
Local disaster declarations were issued in Barber, Butler, Chase, Clark, Cowley, Geary, Greenwood, Harvey, Kingman, Marion, Meade, Morris, Neosho, Osage, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, Reno, Rice, Sumner and Wilson Counties.
Because people underestimate the force and power of water, KDEM is reminding the public to avoid walking or driving through flood waters and to avoid playing in and around a flooded stream. Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm-related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. Even 18 inches of water is sufficient to float a vehicle and it only takes six inches of fast-moving flood water to knock an adult off his feet. Flood waters demand our utmost respect. Turn around don’t drown.