Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect additional information.
Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency for the State of Missouri. Executive Order 15-03 is in effect until July 18, unless Nixon extends the order.
However, Dave Clippert, director of the Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency, said the state of emergency doesn’t really affect Pettis County at this point.
“It looks like the remnants of tropical storm Bill are going to go south of us, but Pettis County is in a flash flood watch right now,” Clippert said. “Although all flooding can be dangerous, flash flooding is particularly dangerous. With the amount of rain coming, we could see flash flooding anywhere.”
Pettis County is forecast to receive up to two inches of rain this weekend. The closest areas expected to flood this weekend are near the Lake of the Ozarks.
Pettis County Western Commissioner Jim Marcum said although Pettis County bridges are fine, too much water on gravel roads is the problem.
“They’re so soft, you can’t really get down to them,” he said. “The gravel roads, people are sinking down in them. You can’t do anything with them right now. If you can’t get a 5,000-pound car down there, you can’t get a 35,000-pound road grader down there either.
“The water’s just soaking the road and has no place to go. It’s just staying on the road.”
Clippert said Nixon’s state of emergency makes requesting state assistance more official now.
“This is also the first step in getting a presidential declaration,” he said. “For us, it doesn’t mean much, but for those communities being affected by the flooding, it opens up resources to them, and then the state can then take the state of emergency and request a disaster declaration from the federal government.”
Nixon declared the state of emergency due to heavy rains, flash flooding and other severe weather impacting large portions of the state. At least one drowning was reported in connection to the flooding, according to a news release from the governor’s office. More heavy weather is expected from the remnants of tropical depression Bill.
“As significant flooding continues to impact large portions of the state, I have directed state emergency management personnel and the Missouri State Highway Patrol to take action to assist local communities and protect the public,” Nixon said in the release. “With more heavy rain in the forecast, we will continue to remain in direct contact with law enforcement and local officials as we work to protect lives and property.”
The State Emergency Operations Center has been monitoring the storm system. Nixon has been receiving updates from his emergency management team which includes senior officials from the Missouri Department of Public Safety, the Missouri National Guard, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the State Emergency Management Agency, according to the release. The Missouri State Emergency Operations plan has also been activated.
The order cited a series of severe storm systems beginning May 15 that have continued throughout June, which have caused severe damage from tornadoes, high winds, heavy rains, flooding and flash flooding. The severe weather has affected homes, businesses, transportation infrastructure, agricultural land and other property across the state.
River and stream systems expected to reach major flood stage include the Mississippi River, the Meramec River, the Bourbeuse River, the Cuivre River and Dardenne Creek.
Watch sedaliademocrat.com for updates.