Kansas, Missouri governors activate National Guards, request help for major flooding

The governors of Kansas and Missouri are calling for help as the two states recover from several rounds of severe weather that brought flooding and tornadoes.

The Missouri National Guard was activated Monday afternoon to help respond to flooded areas. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson posted on Twitter: “As our state continues to recover from severe storms & damaging flooding, and local resources deplete, I am confident in the Guard’s capabilities to make a difference at this critical time.”

In Jefferson City, cleanup efforts continue after an EF-3 tornado struck Wednesday night, destroying structures and leaving dozens of people injured. The same night, three people were killed near Golden City, Missouri, when another EF-3 tornado hit Barton County.

Meanwhile, nearly half of Kansas’ 105 counties are part of a state of disaster declaration. Two counties were added Monday, bringing the total to 49, according to the Kansas Department of Emergency Management.

As part of the declaration, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has requested federal funds for shelter management, water rescues, human services support and other assistance.

“As we work with impacted communities, I want to ensure that every resource is being brought to bear to assist local emergency personnel so we can keep people safe and limit damage to property,” Kelly said in a statement.

In Wilson and Montgomery counties, the Red Cross is providing assistance through its shelters, including one for pets. The Kansas National Guard has also been called on to support local agencies.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been assessing several lake levels. It began releasing floodwater from Perry Lake on Sunday night as rain runoff from weekend storms filled the reservoir’s capacity.

The reservoir’s flood pool as of noon Monday was slightly above 100%, up from 90% Saturday, according to Eric Shumate, chief of hydrologic engineering for the Army Corps in Kansas City. The pool appeared to be leveling off Monday, he said.

The release began at 9 p.m. Sunday. Perry Lake is northwest of Lawrence and connects to the Kansas River upstream from Kansas City.

The Army Corps continued to monitor Tuttle Creek Lake, which was at 91% full for its flood control pool, up from 85% Saturday.

Three Kansas reservoirs have hit a record capacity: Pomona Lake at 84%, Melvern Lake at 83% and Hillsdale Lake at 84%. At Truman Reservoir, which was 83% full, May has seen the second-largest monthly inflow in the history of project, Shumate said.

On Sunday and Monday, Kelly toured Tuttle, Perry and Milford lakes by helicopter and asked Kansans to “continue to be cautious and make safety a priority.”

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Luke Nozicka covers local crime and federal courts for The Kansas City Star. Before joining The Star, he covered breaking news and courts for The Des Moines Register.
Katie Moore covers crime and justice issues for The Star. She is a University of Kansas graduate and was previously a reporter in her hometown of Topeka, Kansas.