TOPEKA -- Governor Sam Brownback signed a State of Disaster Emergency Proclamation for 24 counties this morning, June 3, because of severe storms, flooding, flash flooding, hail, tornadoes and lightning that began June 1 and continues.
The Kansas counties named in the proclamation are Atchison, Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellsworth, Jackson, Jefferson, Jewell, Leavenworth, Lincoln, Marshall, Mitchell, Osborne, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, Republic, Riley, Rooks, Russell, Saline, Shawnee and Smith.
“These are Kansans. They’re tough, they’re resilient and always come back when a disaster knocks them down,” Gov. Brownback said. "This declaration opens the door for the state to assist the counties and to potentially request federal help, depending on the results of the damage assessments. We will do what we can to help them get back on their feet.”
The governor issued the proclamation under the authority granted by the Kansas Emergency Management Act.
Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency management, conducted an aerial assessment of Elwood, Kan. yesterday and met with local officials, pledging his assistance to the county as the potential increases for the waters to go over the levy.
“The full impact of severe storms isn’t always immediate as is the case with flooding, so we are closely monitoring our rivers and streams,” Tafanelli. “We will do whatever we can to assist our counties through this challenging time.”
Today, KDEM personnel are conducting aerial damage assessments over areas of North Central Kansas where much flooding was reported in recent days. KDEM staff will look for damage to infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management will be contacting county emergency managers next week to narrow down eligible damage costs for a possible federal Public Assistance program request. These funds, if approved by FEMA, would provide local government entities and eligible non-profit organizations to receive reimbursements for certain expenditures as a result of the storm.
The Small Business Administration will conduct joint Preliminary Damage Assessments with KDEM on June 8 in Riley County. If they meet damage thresholds, the counties of Clay, Geary, Marshall, Pottawatomie, Washington and Wabaunsee will also be eligible to apply for SBA loans.
City, county and emergency management officials in the Leavenworth area met Tuesday afternoon to discuss the potential for record-breaking floods as early as next week. A flood warning is currently in effect, with the flood stage at just above 20 feet. The extraordinary rain over the last several weeks have caused significant flooding in areas to the north, creating an imminent need to release dams at historic rates.
The National Weather Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are predicting a long-range crest in Leavenworth between 27 and 33 feet, which could rival the flood of 1993, the worst flood on record for this area. Flooded areas are expected to be inundated for several months and city officials will continue to meet and monitor river levels throughout the season.
Smith County reported damage to several roads and bridges. One family has been displaced due to flooding.
Approximately, two hundred people were evacuated from areas along Wildcat Creek in Manhattan. Thirty others were evacuated from flooded areas in Ogden. The American Red Cross opened a reception and care center at St. Thomas More Church, 2800 Kimball Ave., in Manhattan to assist people displaced by flooding.
Three families were evacuated from flooded areas Pottawatomie Creek near Louisville in Pottawatomie County. The county ended sandbagging operations at approximately 1:30 p.m. Fifteen homes in Morganville in Clay County were affected by flooding and three homes in Clay Center were evacuated early today for flooding.
For more information on flood safety measures, go to http://www.ksready.gov/citizens.shtml .