PITTSBURG — City and county officials hosted a second press conference about Monday’s storms, Wednesday morning, providing updates on cleanup efforts and cautioning residents about continuing dangers, particularly from flooding, which have yet to be resolved.
Crawford County Emergency Manager Jason VanBecelaere said while floodwaters have largely receded, some roads remain closed, including 260th St. between Quincy (540th Ave.) and 520th Ave., and Langdon Lane (220th St.) between 520th Ave. and 510th Ave.
Crews were working in those areas and drivers are asked to avoid them, VanBecelaere said, though most other roads had reopened as of Wednesday morning.
VanBecelaere urged drivers to respect county road barricades. In two locations, “somebody had driven through our barricades and destroyed them all, so now we’re short those barricades,” VanBecelaere said. “So I just can’t tell people enough, just don’t drive through the barricades. If it says road closed, it’s road closed.”
Crawford County Sheriff Danny Smith asked drivers traveling between Pittsburg and Joplin to take Highway 69 to Highway 171, rather than secondary roads. He also said residents should take care of anything they need to do and stock up on supplies as early as they can after they get off work because more rain was expected Wednesday evening.
“I’m sure the local stores are really getting hammered on that, but we are expecting more rain tonight, and it sounds like a lot more, it sounds like it’ll be isolated, but still,” Smith said. “The water’s receding but we can probably expect that to come back up again, so again if you’re starting to come home from work and we’ve got some rain that’s coming in, please be careful on the roadways.” Smith said he could not reiterate enough that people should not drive through water that has flooded roadways.
Crawford County Health Officer Rebecca Adamson said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued a warning “to stay out of the floodwaters, stay out of ponds, rivers, creeks right now, because of the possibility of contamination in the runoff, and also currents can be really strong right now in the rivers. So they are investigating the water quality, and we’ll be getting a release, I don’t know when but some time in the future we’ll be getting a release talking about the safety of the water, when it’s safe to go back in the water.”
Adamson said KDHE issued the release for the entire state because of the recent flooding. The Crawford County Health Department was not involved in the decision to issue the warning, but is helping KDHE to spread the word.