Senator Denny Hoskins' Capitol Report
The spring of 2019 will be remembered as one of the worst seasons of severe weather in Missouri history. As tornadoes ripped through isolated areas of the state, thousands of Missourians saw their homes, farms and business inundated with floods. The damage is especially widespread near the Missouri River, which flows along the borders of five of the eight counties that comprise the 21st Senatorial District.
Significant areas of the district have been severely impacted by rising flood waters. At this time, water levels along the Missouri, Grand and other rivers have risen to heights not seen since the historic flood of 1993. My heart goes out to everyone affected.
On May 21, the governor declared a state of emergency and activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state officials to coordinate with local authorities to combat the rising waters and speed recovery. The Missouri National Guard has been mobilized to assist with sandbagging efforts and to reinforce levees.
For the latest information about flooding conditions in Missouri, log onto www.mo.gov. The State Emergency Management Agency offers specific advice about flood preparation and recovery on its website at sema.dps.mo.gov. A pull-down menu at SEMA’s site directs visitors to emergency coordinators and floodplain administrators in each county. For the latest information about road closures, log onto the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Traveler Map.
If you need help – or, if you would like to help – The United Way has an online resource and telephone hotline for both victims and volunteers. Log onto http://www.211helps.org or dial 2-1-1 to find resources in your specific county. The site provides references to organizations and services that can help with food, shelter, transportation or clothing needs, as well as link those in need with medical and mental health providers. The American Red Cross and local chapters of the Salvation Army can also provide assistance following a natural disaster.
The Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Disaster Distress hotline provides immediate counseling for anyone coping with the mental or emotional impacts of a natural disaster. Dial 1-800-985-5990, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
While flooding impacts low-lying property owners most, all Missourians need to take precautions around rising waters. Never drive into or across flooded roadways. It only takes a few inches of water to float an automobile and you could be swept downstream in an instant. Also, there is no assurance that the roadway still exists under flood water. Swift currents wash away asphalt and yesterday’s road could be a ravine today.
Stay away from downed power lines and do not enter buildings that are surrounded by flood water. Do not wade or swim in flood waters. The water itself may be contaminated by gasoline, chemicals, sewage or biological waste. Monitor local television and radio broadcasts for breaking news about flash floods. A NOAA Weather Radio provides instant alerts when severe weather threatens. The latest versions of these life-saving devices can be programmed so they only sound warnings when specific events approach your exact location.
Those of us on higher ground watch in horror as swollen rivers swallow the homes and farms of our neighbors. It is heart-wrenching to witness the destruction and know that our fellow Missourians are helpless to turn back the water. I hope everyone will consider lending a hand to help in whatever way they can. Also, know that the state of Missouri is here to help. Please make use of the resources I’ve provided above.
Our prayers are with you.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4302. You may also email me at email@example.com.