On Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard in response to the record rainfall and flooding throughout the state during the past week.
According to a press release issued by the governor’s office, the Guard has been activated after Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri on Sunday, Dec. 27 to protect local communities and support emergency response personnel.
The Guard’s responsibilities will include providing security in evacuated areas and directing traffic from road closures.
While Pettis County has not been directly impacted from the record rainfall, members of the Pettis County Missouri National Guard are standing ready in the event they are sent to the most heavily damaged areas of the state including West Alton, Illinois, the St. Louis region, and the Rolla and Springfield areas.
Fifteen Missourians have lost their lives because of the flooding especially over roadways.
Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Clippert put that number in perspective in a press release provided to the Democrat.
“Since 2012, two people have died in tornadoes in our state,” Clippert said. “Fifteen have died in flooding in the past two weeks.”
Fourteen of the deaths have occurred when individuals were trapped in vehicles being swept from flooded roadways.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol has closed several roadways throughout the state and with the holiday weekend, they encourage urge drivers to remain alert in all driving situations.
“The Missouri State Highway Patrol urges motorists to be vigilant of water across roadways, including roadways which rarely experience such conditions,” Capt. John Hotz said in a statement. “Recognizing these conditions is particularly difficult after dark, so it is imperative drivers utilize extreme caution to assure safe passage to their destination.
“Drivers must respect barriers or barricades put in place by MoDOT or other officials,” Holtz said. “It is extremely dangerous and a violation of state law to drive around them. If your vehicle would happen to become stuck in rising water, get out and quickly move to higher ground.”
For those planning to travel to other areas of the state, the Department of Transportation road conditions are posted at www.mshp.dps.mo.gov.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484