KY3 FLASHBACK: Remembering the 100-year flood of 2017

Remembering the 100 year flood, six years later
Remembering the 100 year flood, six years later(ky3)
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 3:10 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - April 28 marks historic flooding in 2017.

Rain dumped more than 10 inches of rain within 48 hours in several areas, including portions of Howell, Texas, Wright, and Douglas counties.

It was just another Friday when a powerful storm system moved into the Ozarks. These are common this time of year, but no one knew this was just the beginning of a so-called 100-year flood. Several areas of low pressure tracked across the Ozarks, providing very few breaks between showers and storms.

During that weekend, power to the city of West Plains was shut off, leaving social media as the only way for first responders to receive calls for help. Roads, bridges, and buildings were destroyed as the rain continued.

With the Howell County Emergency Management, Mike Coldiron remembers the fateful weekend that led to more than 100 water rescues in Howell County alone.

“The event prompted us to seek out additional training, water rescue training. We’ve had classes put on in our region for that and reiterated the backup systems to be in place in the event of a major disaster, which we constantly try to prepare for and be ready,” Coldiron said.

While emergency management can save lives and help in times of disaster, Coldiron says these rare weather events also rely on the public to have preparations in place to prevent fatalities.

“I think educating the public on having a plan. I think that’s the big thing. And we strive to put that out there,” Coldiron added.

In addition to having a plan for all types of dangerous weather, it’s also important to have a way to receive alerts. Most smartphones have the ability to turn on the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which alerts you when your county is under a watch, warning, or advisory.

There are also third-party apps, like the KY3 Weather app, that can alert your smartphone. Weather radios are inexpensive and can save lives if you don’t have a smartphone.

While some may celebrate the lack of fatalities from this event, many homes and businesses were severely damaged. It took at least a year for many communities to rebuild what was lost.

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