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Gov. Parson wants to create new flood response agency

January 23, 2022 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson wants to spend $10.4 million to create a new office that would help the state better prepare for floods and drought.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Connie Patterson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that creating the new Missouri Hydrology Information Center is part of the state’s response to the 2019 floods in the Missouri and Mississippi river basins that caused roughly $20 billion damage. The proposal was part of Parson’s budget plan released last week.

Patterson said the new office would help the state move “from a reactive to proactive response” to flood protection and recovery.

If it is approved, the new center would be asked to improve the current system of measuring stream depth to provide more real-time stream level data at numerous statewide locations.

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“It will also help with the creation of flood inundation maps showing the extent and depth of predicted flood waters for dozens of Missouri communities,” Patterson said.

Some of the information the new office would collect may already exist at the U.S. Geologic Survey office or state emergency management agency, but Patterson said the new agency would be designed to be a user-friendly clearinghouse of information.