Pottawatomie County officials continue to keep one eye on the weather and the other on the level of Tuttle Creek Lake.
With the lake level continuing to rise slowly and rain dominating the near-term forecast, county officials are meeting weekly to prepare for potential flooding in the event a major release of water from the lake becomes necessary.
Tuttle Creek, however, has nearly 30 percent of its flood control storage capacity remaining and a major release is not imminent, according to Chris Trudo, Pott County emergency management director.
“We’re not at the imminent stage where we’re saying this is going to happen,” Trudo told county commissioners Monday. “We’re not saying that everyone should run for high ground, but it is something we need to prepare for.”
Trudo and fellow emergency officials have been planning emergency evacuation routes, shelter sites for both humans and animals, filling sites for sandbags (the county just ordered 9,000), and making arrangements with the Red Cross.
Fire Supervisor Jared Barnes said he is collaborating with Manhattan and Riley County officials, as well as Pott County fire chiefs and other local officials.
Hal Bumgarner, Emergency Medical Services director, said a plan for ambulance rotation and relocation has been developed. If Highway 24 floods east of Manhattan, there is a plan to house ambulances and personnel on both sides of the Blue River to ensure continued service to all parts of Pott County, he said.
Meanwhile, Crystal Malchose, director of human resources, has been designated to handle all official public information released by the county.
“There was a lot of misinformation in 1993,” Trudo said. “The information we give out in 2019 needs to be much better than ’93.”
Up-to-date flood information is available at the county website (pottcounty.org), and Malchose is developing a Facebook page to disseminate official county information, according to Robert Reece, county administrator.