Photo courtesy of Kansas Wing, Civil Air Patrol

19-038 Disaster response update: State gets brief respite from storms

Kansans will see a brief lull in the severe weather system that has hammered the state since May 20, giving response and recovery efforts a little breathing room, although a new round of storms is expected to develop over the weekend in some areas as flood waters from the upper Missouri Basin reach the state.

Water levels and release rates at several U.S. Army Corps of Engineer reservoirs are still being closely watched as floodwaters flow into the state from the upper Missouri Basin. Tuttle Creek is currently releasing water at 25,000 cubic feet per second with potential to increase to 30,000 cfs.

The levees along the Verdigris River near Coffeyville continue to be monitored. At the request of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Kansas National Guard High Wheeled Evacuation Teams at Coffeyville was tasked Wednesday night to observe levee conditions in coordination with Montgomery County and Coffeyville emergency management. That mission is ongoing. Additional Kansas National Guard High Wheeled Evacuation Teams are strategically prepositioned to augment local resources.

In addition to flooding, nine tornadoes were reported in the state Tuesday evening. A tornado struck southeast Lawrence along US-59. Tornadoes were also reported in Beloit, Bonner Springs, Collier, Eudora, Linwood, Pleasant Grove. Russell, and Tipton.

The American Red Cross is providing support to persons affected by flooding and tornados. One shelter is currently open at Riley County Westview Community Church, 615 Gillespie Drive, Manhattan. A second open shelter, at Douglas County Fairgrounds, is set to close at noon today. Other shelters are on standby in Dickinson, Jefferson, Montgomery, Neosho, Saline and Wabaunsee Counties.

One pet shelter is operational in Riley County at the Westview Community Church. Four other pet shelters are on standby. The Kansas State Animal Response Team is supporting pet shelter needs, as requested.

An American Red Cross national resources shelter trailer from the Red Cross regional warehouse in St. Louis, Missouri, is staged in Topeka to distribute sheltering supplies, as needed.

Those in disaster areas can let others know of their well-being by registering on the Safe and Well website (https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php). They can also call 1-800-REDCROSS to register themselves and their family.

Those wishing to help can do so by donating time, money and blood. Information on helping with disaster relief can be found on the American Red Cross website at redcross.org. Select “Volunteer” to apply to be a volunteer.

To donate blood, visit redcrossblood.org to find a drive near you or make an appointment to give.

The best way to give support during and after a disaster is to make a financial donation to voluntary organizations providing assistance. To learn more about volunteer opportunities or to obtain other disaster information, please call United Way 2-1-1.

Flooding continues to affect roadways across Kansas. For continuously-updated road condition information, go to www.KanDrive.org or dial 5-1-1. Flooding information is shown on the construction map so that all highway closures can be seen at once. Other construction information, camera views, weather websites and travel details are also available.

With the addition of Edwards County, 58 Kansas counties are now included in a state disaster proclamation originally signed by Gov. Laura Kelly May 9. The list is continuously updated as new counties are added.

Counties named in the declaration are Allen, Anderson, Barber, Barton, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Dickinson, Douglas, Doniphan, Edwards, Elk, Ellsworth, Franklin, Geary, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Hodgeman, Jefferson, Kingman, Leavenworth, Lincoln, Linn, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Montgomery, Morris, Nemaha, Neosho, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Riley, Rush, Russell, Saline, Sumner, Wabaunsee, Washington, Wilson, and Woodson.