Preparing for flooding even during drought conditions

Published: Feb. 19, 2018 at 8:17 PM CST
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The warm conditions have more people coming out to the lake, but not necessarily thinking about flooding.

Chris Berndt, emergency manager for Taney County & Western Taney County fire chief said, "Right now, it's kind of the calm before the storm, and we are making sure that crews are ready to block roads, we want to see what we would have to do in regards to flooding, but normally the first thing that we end up doing is roads under water, that people don't drive through low water crossings."

And even though water levels may be low now doesn't mean that flooding isn't on the minds of emergency managers.

"The thing is now, we are in a drought. The lakes around here are very low. In fact, we can clearly stand some water. But really the last two floods, in the December of '15 and April of '17, we really were pretty low on water. So, just because the lake is as low as it is- particularly Table Rock and Bull Shoals too, that doesn't mean anything. We have seen time and time the lakes jump up because it's just such an amount of water that can come in," Berndt said.

And The winter months can make the Ozarks particularly susceptible to flooding.

"Particularly this time of year before everything greens up. Once all the grass and the trees are growing and green, they use a lot more water and a lot less runs off. But this time of year, a lot of water just runs off," Berndt said.

The best advice from both emergency managers and meteorologists is to make sure that you check the forecast before heading outdoors. And if you do have to be driving during flood conditions, remember that saying: turn around, don't drown.

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