At Maurice's request, I attended a meeting this morning of the Pottawatomie County Emergency Operations Center, chaired by Chris Trudo, county emergency management director. The meeting was in Wamego and was well attended. Lots of people are giving lots of thought to flood preparations in the event that the Tuttle Creek Dam spillways have to be opened, resulting in downstream flooding. The city was well-represented by Derek Cid, John-Paul Rutledge, and Dan Marstall.
The meetings are being held every day or so for the purpose of EOC members updating information/coordinating on what their departments/entities are doing to prepare for the potential flooding event.
The lake surface elevation this morning was 1,127.3 feet - the top of the gates is 1,136 feet. The Army COE daily evaluates WX conditions both downstream and upstream of the dam, and levels in the Missouri River, and projects what will happen for the next three days to determine whether or not the gates have to be opened. As of today, the COE is cautiously optimistic that the gates will not have to be opened.
Attached is a handout with links for updated sources of information. The county is making an effort to get information out quickly with wide distribution to keep citizens informed and so that fake-news rumors do not fly.
The principal attention of emergency coordinators at this point is the area immediately downstream of the dam for which detailed flood inundation maps have been prepared that show flood plain boundaries for different volumes of dam releases. I asked if the existing flood plain maps (the draft one for St. Marys) are a prudent planning baseline. The response was yes. A worst case scenario for St. Marys would be Kansas River flooding compounded by a very high rainfall dump on the College Creek drainage basin.
1. Sandbags. The county is limiting how many each community will get with the instructions that they are not to be used to build walls, rather to protect openings in buildings such as doors and window wells. (I assume that if a community wants to acquire more, they can do it on their own.)
2. Emergency declarations. Cities were advised to keep track of the cost of unique flood response preparations from April 28th on for reimbursement should such $$$ be made available by the state and/or feds.
3. Infrastructure protection. Cities should be giving thought to drinking water, electrical, and sewer service protection and make plans in case such service is rendered inoperative due to flooding. If a city is thinking of getting a supply of bottled drinking water, it should be contracting with a vendor now.
4. Swift water rescue. Sheriff Riat says that his department is not equipped or trained for swift water rescue, that he depends on surrounding local/state jurisdictions/agencies that have such equipment/training.
5. Hospital/Nursing homes. Evacuation plans should be in place/verified now in case an evacuation is needed, not only for flooding, but in case utility services are shutdown.
6. Citizen emergency needs. Plans should be in place for assisting citizens using specialized medical equipment, such as O2 generators, that require electrical service, and emergency relocation centers/supplies for evacuees.
7. Volunteers/critical agency personnel. The EOC will be coordinating the assignment/transportation of volunteers and agency personnel such as law enforcement and firemen responding to need requests from cities/agencies. Volunteers will have to have an up-to-date tetanus vaccination - the county is providing them free of charge. (An aside. An all-volunteer response organization headquartered in Arkansas is Sheep Dog Impact Assistance - https://sheepdogia.org/ )
8. Critical equipment. Consideration should be given to the relocation of such equipment as fire trucks, ambulances, earth-moving/specialized equipment if current locations are within the flood plain.
9. Highways closed. The Sheriff noted that the closing of US-24, such as at Swamp Angel, will result in a significant economic disruption and create problems for moving of emergency equipment and personnel.
The current WX forecast on wunderground 's 10-day forecast is for the possibility of a good percentage of rain for the entire period: https://www.wunderground.com/forecast/us/ks/st.-marys/39.20%2C-96.07?cm_ven=localwx_10day
The latest KSStorm discussion: https://www.ksstorm.info/briefing/memorial-day-weekend-severe-weather-flooding/
The current NWS Topeka Situation Report: https://www.weather.gov/media/top/sitreport/SitReport1.pdf
Water levels/projected water levels at: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=TOP
Mike Smith's blog entries - the first two as I write are about flooding risks: http://www.mikesmithenterprisesblog.com/