Legislative Column for July 8, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY - It is mid-summer, and while we have had some of the expected Missouri heat and humidity, we have had much more rain than usual. A very wet spring and the nearly continual rain this summer has left most of the state with flooding. The sudden rise in waters can and does lead for some very serious situations. Here in the 26th District, like most areas across the state, there has been loss of life due to the flood waters. I want to caution each of you to avoid flooded areas.

Flood waters are unpredictable to say the least. They can rise in a matter of minutes and often the surface of the water appears much different than what is beneath. Flood waters tend to move in and leave fast, this means they usually have a swift current, even one not noticeable to those looking at what appears to be still waters. Flood waters are notorious for taking out roadways, especially those that are not asphalt or concrete.

Another thing that routinely surprises people is that it takes very little water to actually overpower a person or sweep a car away. Six inches of water can knock an adult off of their feet, two feet of flood water can float a mid-size car and water moving at only two miles per hour can move a car. When cars begin to move they will also, most likely, roll as they encounter ditches, debris and most often washed out road.

As the saying goes “Turn around – don’t drown.”

If you find yourself near floods, please do not enter the water no matter the circumstance. Be careful to watch for debris and downed power lines as the water recedes. The absence of water where it has recently flooded may mean the presence of new problems and concerns.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) keeps an updated online listing of closed roads, and even offers tips on how to stay safe. You can find information online at http://www.modot.org/flooding/. You can also call 1-888-275-6636 for road closings.

With more rain predicted in the coming days, please be sure to pay attention to local weather reports and updates.

I always appreciate hearing from you. If you have any questions about the topics discussed above, or any other issues, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Thank you for reading this weekly column. Please contact my office at (573) 751-3678 if you have any questions.