Boone County officials meet about flood preparedness

Friday, May 1, 2009 | 5:51 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Officials met Friday afternoon to discuss Boone County's preparedness for flooding.

"I get nervous," District I Commissioner Karen Miller said. Miller said that with a forecast for more rain, she wanted to be sure county officials were coordinated. Miller said she felt comfortable with the county's response so far but wanted to be sure county commissioners remained in communication with responders throughout Boone County.

Current road closures

For road closures, go to the Boone County Office of Emergency Management's Web site.

James McNabb, joint communications administrator for Boone County and Columbia, said county officials are cognizant of the amount of rain, but not alarmed by it.

McNabb said there had been calls about flash flooding but the county fields those calls fairly regularly. He said that it's not unusual for people to see a road covered in water, try to cross it and get stuck.

Chip Estabrooks, maintenance operations manager for the Boone County Public Works Department, said most of the damage from flooding has been concentrated in the northeast quadrant of the county, north of Interstate 70 and east of U.S. Highway 63.

McNabb said that over the last few days the water level of the Missouri River rose quickly in some places, but has begun receding from its peak at 28 feet.

Scott Olsen, deputy chief of the Boone County Fire District, said a more severe risk of flooding occurs when the water level rises above 30 feet.

Though Olsen said spot-flooding had occurred, McNabb said recent infrastruct changes like culverts and levies have kept places that traditionally flood dry, so far.

McNabb said May and June are generally the months when the most flooding occurs.

Olsen said people can prepare by cleaning out their gutters and ensuring drainage near their homes to prevent water from pooling.

Olsen said, for now, the Missouri River basin is good and the weather further north is dry.

"Keep people out of the water and we'll be fine," Olsen said.

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