County's EMA Earns Signs from Weather Service
Webster County TADD Sign Ceremony, from left, Paul Ipock, County Presiding Commissioner; Wayne Turner, County Road and Bridge Superintendent; Lyndall Fraker, County Northern Commissioner; Denzil Young, County Southern Commissioner; Kelsey Angle, NWS Springfield, MO; Bill Sexton, EM Director; Roye Cole, Sheriff.; gather at an installed Turn Around Don’t Drown sign. Photo by Andy Foster, NWS, Springfield, MO
Webster County, Mo. – The Springfield National Weather Service Forecast Office recently partnered with Webster County to install “When Flooded Turn Around Don’t Drown” signage on both sides of a high impact low water crossing near Interstate 44. The signs were installed as a result of a Flash Flood Risk Analysis program at the forecast office.
Flash flooding from heavy rainfall is a frequent occurrence at the low water crossing along Greenwood Road. The dangers of flooding are increased from the small basin size, the rocky and steep terrain of the Ozark Plateau and the high volume of traffic that uses the low water crossing. Proximity to Interstate 44 makes the crossing a popular route.
“On average the Greenwood Road low water crossing floods more than eight times a year. So far this year, Webster County has conducted three water rescues at this crossing,” said Bill Sexton, Webster County emergency manager.
The “When Flooded Turn Around Don’t Drown” signs were provided by the National Weather Service Hydrology Services Division. The Webster County Road and Bridge department conducted the installation.
“Flash flooding in Southwest Missouri poses a significant threat to life and produces a substantial loss each year to property and infrastructure,” said Kelsey Angle, National Weather Service meteorologist. “Six fatalities due to flooding in the Ozarks occurred in 2008. In addition, hundreds of vehicle water rescues with more than 270 reports of flash flooding were reported during the year with above normal precipitation.”
“The National Weather Service in Springfield has developed the Flash Flood Risk Analysis Project to address the challenges that flooding brings to the Ozarks,” said senior meteorologist Andy Foster.
The purpose of the Flash Flood Risk Analysis Project is three-fold:
- Incorporate detailed physiographic, socio-economic and historical flood data that will lead to more detailed and accurate flash flood warnings, thus leading to more effective response by those in harm’s way.
- Equip the emergency management community, in coordination with National Weather Service warning preparedness activities, to perform more effective flood risk assessment and mitigation prior to flooding and response efforts during and after a flash flood.
- Provide the public and other agencies with more effective flash flood warnings; investigate development of flood sensors and develop safety campaigns for the protection of life and property.
The Springfield National Weather Service Office has forecast and warning responsibility for 34 counties in Southwest Missouri and 3 counties in Southeast Kansas. The County Warning and Forecast Area covers nearly 1.2 million people in a 24,549-square-mile area.
Photo Webster_Ceremony (From left to right) Paul Ipock, Webster County Presiding Commissioner (beige coat), Wayne Turner, Webster County Road and Bridge Superintendent (black hat), Lyndall Fraker, Webster County Northern Commissioner (dark grey coat), Denzil Young, Webster County Southern Commissioner (brown coat), Kelsey Angle, NWS Springfield, MO (black coat), Bill Sexton, Webster County EM Director (bright green coat), Roye Cole, Webster County Sheriff (blue coat with shoulder patch), gather at an installed Turn Around Don’t Drown sign. (Photo Credit: Andy Foster, NWS, Springfield, MO)