19-039 Disaster response update: State keeping close watch on river levels

May 31, 2019 | By slarson

The State Emergency Operations Center continues to keep close watch on water levels for areas with elevated flooding concerns and precipitation affecting reservoir catchments. These areas include Tuttle Creek, Milford, Perry, and John Redmond reservoirs. "Today I surveyed Tuttle Creek and Sabetha Watershed with Kansas Division of Emergency Management officials, said Governor Laura Kelly. We are closely watching the water levels at reservoirs across the state. I'm pleased by the work of many local, state, and federal partners as we coordinate the resources and response to severe weather and flooding. "It is critical that Kansans continue to be vigilant and heed all warnings from local emergency personnel. Do not drive, swim, or play in flood waters. It could cost you your life." The Neosho River continues to have moderate to minor flooding levels in some areas. The Missouri River at St. Joseph is currently in major flood levels, but hydrologic graphs show it beginning to decrease. Tuttle Creek is releasing water at 30,000 cubic feet per second. The flood pool is at 99 percent capacity and inflow to the reservoir is approximately 40,000 cfs. The Verdigris River has seen decreases with minor flooding levels in Independence and Coffeyville. The levees along the Verdigris River near Coffeyville continue to be monitored. There have been reports that a watershed dam near Sabetha is in imminent danger of failure. The state has been aware of the situation since Tuesday. Staff from the Dept. of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources has been monitoring the dam and is on site. While the situation is serious, it has not changed over the last couple of days. The dam failure is not imminent. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Vital Statistics has temporarily suspended the provisions of the regulatory statutes and rules and regulations prescribing the requirement for fee assessment for people who need to obtain certified copies of birth and marriage certificates that were lost in the May 28 tornadoes which swept through Douglas, Leavenworth, Mitchell, Osborne and Washington counties. The KDHE Office of Vital Statistics will begin providing assistance to disaster victims who need to replace birth and marriage certificates for their immediate family on June 3. This service will end August 2. This offer is not available to anyone who has not been verified as a victim in the damaged area in the above stated counties on May 28. Applications must be mailed to the KDHE Office of Vital Statistics or applicants can visit the KDHE Office of Vital Statistics, 1000 SW Jackson in Topeka, to see if they qualify for the fee waiver. Applicants must provide contact information for questions and a mailing address at which they are to receive mail. When requesting records, you must present a current state or federal government-issued photo ID. This can be issued by the U.S. or other country of residence. Examples of acceptable IDs include a driver's license, State ID card, passport or visa, or military ID. If you do not have a government issued photo ID, you must bring any TWO of the following documents:

  • Social security number
  • Bank statement with current address
  • Car registration or title with current address
  • Utility bill with current address
  • Pay stub (must include your name, social security number plus name and address of business)

Kansans with additional questions are encouraged to visit the Vital Statistics website at www.kdheks.gov/vital or call 785-296-1400. KDHE is cautioning Kansans to stay out of waterways because of the recent flooding that have resulted in unsafe water quality in some areas. In addition to the physical dangers associated with entering swift moving flood waters, the potential for high levels of pathogens in those waters exist. KDHE anticipates elevated levels of pathogens in rivers and streams across the state because of runoff. Over the past several days, numerous wastewater systems have experienced bypasses of sewage that enter local streams. People are advised to avoid contact with waterways and to restrict pets and livestock from entering streams and allow flood waters time to recede. KDHE personnel are in contact with wastewater utilities in Kansas and are evaluating the extent of any bypass. Individuals should contact their local public works departments for questions related to their immediate area. The Kansas National Guard has prepositioned eight High Water Evacuation Teams in key locations of the affected areas across the state for rapid response, as needed. Each team consists of three vehicles and six Guardsmen and is able to transport 10-15 people out of flooded areas. The Guard has also supplied a variety of equipment and personnel to support local authorities with their response and recovery operations. The Kansas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol has been tasked to conduct aerial photography of flooding along the Delaware River in Northeast Kansas. The American Red Cross is providing support to persons affected by flooding and tornados. Two shelters are currently open: Trinity United Methodist Church, 1602 N. Main Street, Hutchinson; and Westview Community Church, 615 Gillespie Drive, Manhattan; this location also supports a pet shelter. Eight other shelters are on standby in Dickinson, Jefferson, Montgomery, Neosho, Saline and Wabaunsee Counties. Two 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. People 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. 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. To donate blood, visit redcrossblood.org to find a drive near you or make an appointment to give. 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. Fifty-eight 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, Doniphan, Douglas, 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