CENTRAL PLAINS RESIDENTS NOW CONTEND WITH RISING FLOOD WATERS
May 8, 2007 — The absence of severe weather and tornadoes for a couple of days has allowed residents of the Central Plains to turn their attention to the immediate needs for flood protection. Heavy rainfall occurred in most High Plains states into Monday, leaving swollen creeks and rivers as a new and growing threat to homes and livelihoods. (Click NOAA image for larger view of Significant River Flood Outlook through May 12, 2007. Click here for latest outlook. Please credit “NOAA.”)
NOAA forecasters said flooding was a threat from South Dakota to southeast Texas. The NOAA Hydrologic Information Center reported moderate to major flooding Tuesday morning at 53 stream gauge sites in South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Arkansas. Minor flooding is reported at 87 gauge locations in the same area and 107 sites are near flood stage.
Sample rainfall totals from the weekend storms included 10 inches at Epiphany, S.D.; 9.73 inches at Kearney, Neb.; 8.68 inches at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan.; 8.02 inches at Pattonsburg, Mo.; and 7.98 inches at Logan, Iowa.
"Last weekend's heavy rains have saturated soils so much they simply can't absorb any more precipitation," NOAA National Weather Service Central Region Director Lynn Maximuk said. "Thankfully, the severe weather is mostly gone for now, but we don't want people to get complacent. Floods and flash floods kill more people than any other weather phenomenon. The easiest way to save your own life is to stay out of flood waters. When it's under water, you have no way of knowing what kind of shape a road is in, or whether it may have been washed away completely."
"Turn around, don't drown is our message for dealing with flood conditions," said Maximuk.
Rescue workers were using modes of transportation from four-wheel-drive farm tractors to jet skis to retrieve people from flooded homes and stranded cars. Emergency management workers conducted more than 500 water rescues through Monday in Topeka and Shawnee County, Kan. There were numerous evacuations in northwest Missouri and many local and state roads were closed due to flooding.
As of Monday evening, NOAA National Weather Service Flood and Flash Flood Watches were in effect for eastern Nebraska, portions of Iowa, eastern Kansas, central Oklahoma, northern and southwest Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Flood and Flash Flood Warnings were in effect for parts of southeast North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, southern and western Iowa, southeast Nebraska, eastern Kansas, northwest Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
NOAA National Weather Service Central Region Services Chief Mike Looney said the focus for possible severe weather Tuesday is from southwest and central Texas with non-severe storms possible through Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
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