August 7, 2013

MSHP reminds public about flooding dangers

JEFFERSON CITY -- Colonel Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, would like to remind the public that flooding continues to affect safety on both the waterways and roadways. Flooding, due to the recent heavy rains, has proven to be extremely dangerous and even fatal.

I-44 in Phelps County near Jerome earlier today. (Photos by Missouri Department of Transportation)

Recent storms have created flooding issues in many areas of the state. Many of the roads across the state which are near or crossover waterways are still under water and should be considered impassable and extremely dangerous to cross.

For their safety and that of their passengers, drivers are reminded to stay alert while driving in areas known to flood. Barricades closing a roadway are there to protect you. Drivers must respect barriers or barricades put in place by MoDOT -- it is extremely dangerous and a violation of state law to drive around them.

Another view of I-44 in Phelps County near Jerome.

Never drive through fast-moving waters; even a small amount of fast-moving water can sweep a slow-moving vehicle off the roadway. If your vehicle becomes stuck in rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground.

The Patrol also asks boaters across the state to take extra precautions when boating in flooded areas. Many areas of Missouri have experienced large amounts of rainfall over the last week causing rivers and lakes to become swollen. Many times the right decision is to stay off the water.

In areas where lakes or rivers have spilled over the banks, erosion and damage can occur to flooded structures, docks, or water laden levees by boat wakes. Boaters should avoid operating in these areas. If operation in these areas is necessary, boaters should operate at idle speed so as not to cause a wake.

Flooded rivers and streams with moving currents present some of the most dangerous situations a boater can encounter. Fast moving water can easily capsize or flip a boat, especially when combined with fixed objects such as trees and buildings. Boaters should avoid any operations in these swift flowing waters.

Many lakes and rivers across the state have only seen routine increases in water levels. It is for the safety of the public and to minimize damage to property that the Highway Patrol requests boaters avoid waterways that have been impacted by the most severe flooding.

In case of an emergency, motorists may contact the Patrol by calling 1-800-525-5555 or, on a cellular phone, dialing *55. The Patrol encourages motorists and watercraft operators to protect themselves by making sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint and everyone in the vessel is wearing an approved life jacket. Click It 4 Life and Wear It!!!