City officials announced today that the “Flood of 2007” is receding and the role of the emergency operations center has moved to recovery and cleanup.
The announcement came 48 hours after city officials forecast a record flood in Miami. Their predictions rang true as the Neosho River swelled into hundreds of Miami homes and businesses before cresting Wednesday morning.
Officials say firm count on how many structures have been impacted and the number of people displaced will not be available until assessments are complete.
The retreat of floodwaters will be slow, according to Miami City Manager Michael Spurgeon, who said that figures provided by the National Weather Service indicate that water will not be out of homes until late Friday. That prediction, however, is contingent upon cooperative weather.
“We are asking everyone to be patient,” Spurgeon said. “This will be a slow process.”
City officials say water in Miami reached an elevation of approximately 776 mean sea level before showing signs of receding.
An estimated 40 city streets remain closed today, limiting ingress and egress options to a single northern corridor.
“We will open the roads only when we feel that it is safe,” Spurgeon said.
Disregard of barricades and the continued intrusion of spectators remains a problem for emergency workers and flood victims, according to city officials. As of today, Miami police officers are writing citations.
Fines for disregarding or removing barricades exceed $100, according to law enforcement officials.
City officials are also asking people to stay out of the floodwaters for health reasons.
“We have heard reports of children swimming and playing in the water,” said Miami Fire Chief and emergency operations coordinator Kevin Trease. “It is not safe. Keep them out. It is contaminated water.”
Anyone who has waded into the water is encouraged to have a tetanus shot. The shots will be offered free of charge Thursday at the Ottawa County Health Department beginning at 8 a.m.
Additionally, the following announcements were made:
• Utility bills for the next one to two cycles will be estimated for many Miami residents as meters are either inaccessible or under water.
• Solid waste/trash service will resume as scheduled. Those residents who should have received service Wednesday are asked to have trash at the curb Friday morning. Thursday’s service will be provided to as many people as possible. Trucks will travel on alternate routes to gain access to areas on the southwest side of town.
• An unscheduled cleanup day will be offered to residents impacted by the flood. Watch the News-Record for an announcement to that affect. City officials are encouraging residents to well-document the condition of damaged property and contact insurance providers before attempting to remove debris.
• Cleanup kits, consisting of supplies to aid in residential cleanup, will be handed out at noon Thursday at the First Christian Church shelter. The Red Cross will dispense the kits.