Gov. Jay Nixon toured parts of flood-ravaged south-central Missouri Thursday following days of heavy rains, which damaged dozens of homes and killed a young boy.
Nixon praised the work of local organizations in their response efforts, including the Red Cross, whose Waynesville shelter housed 27 people Wednesday night. Nixon has called upon the Missouri National Guard for security and traffic control, as numerous streets have been closed, including sections of I-44 earlier this week.
“It’s a very strange weather pattern that has that rain come between 12 o’clock at night and five in the morning," said Nixon, "So folks need to be very, very careful when they get out on those streets. If they’re closed, don’t drive through water.”
As of Thursday evening, the search continued for Jessica D. Lee, the Waynesville mother whose 4-year-old son, Elyjah M. Lee, was killed when the car in which he was riding was swept off a flooded roadway on Tuesday. Jessica is presumed dead.
Another Red Cross shelter has been setup inside a Hollister church, where about 50 people were evacuated Thursday morning due to flooding. Several staying at the shelter are said to have left their homes on emergency rescue boats.
Nixon says his office will try to make sure the necessary resources are available for flood victims.
“We’ll be traveling over the next few days to make sure that folks know that the entire state is behind them," he said. "We have had a lot of very heroic action in these rescues, by both citizens as well as first responders, and we thank them for their heroic actions to save people’s lives.”
The Waynesville area is said to have received up to 15 inches of rain in a 48-hour period, with more rain forecast for southern Missouri through Saturday.