Branson Urging Taneycomo Residents to Evacuate Before Dark

BRANSON, Mo. -- Emergency management experts in the Branson area held a briefing Saturday afternoon, urging people who live along the shoreline of Lake Taneycomo to self evacuate before dark, as heavy rain continues.

Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin says the evacuations are not mandatory, but if the Army Corps of Engineers needs to open flood gates at Table Rock Dam, the water level will rise quickly.

"We know the Corps (of Engineers) has to work their plan, and it works well.  But, we would like to communicate with our residents and businesses to stay ahead of that issue where we can do property conservation and evacuations prior to dark," Martin said.  "That means we've been putting that message out through our BransonAlert system,  through social media platforms plus live local media, encouraging those folks to take action now so that everything is done by dark tonight."

"We could be in a position that by tomorrow morning there's no change in the structure of Table Rock Dam, or the gates.  But we would like to be ahead of that.   The entire southwest Missouri region is experiencing flooding.  Water rescue teams are working across the state.   We know where flooding happens - it happens in a very narrow area in our community. We do not want to be in a position where we have to effect rescues after dark."

"The key message is Branson remains open for business.  The water flooding happens in a geographical area that we're aware of.  That means that areas like Branson Landing continue to operate right now. Branson Landing is built within what's called a 404 permit with the Corps of Engineers, which requires certain things to happen in the flood plain - when parking lots are closed down, when air conditioning units are turned off, when elevators no longer operate and when we start shutting down utilities.  And that comes step by step as the water levels come up.  So again, we know we're doing well right now in the afternoon hours.  However we want to be well ahead of that so we do not have to take any major actions after dark."

The Branson City Campground along Taneycomo was evacuated Friday before the heavy rain began, Martin said.


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