The Kansas Highway Patrol is helping government officials get a better way to see the effects of flooding than just looking at numbers.
The KHP’s Aircraft Unit in Topeka has flown over many lakes and rivers in recent weeks to view rising levels from a different perspective.
Troopers are working with the state Emergency Operations Center to make sure everyone can be prepared.
“Having that aerial photography really gives us a good visual of what’s going on, on the ground without having to be on the ground,” said Derek Montgomery, Planning Section Chief at the EOC.
Lieutenant Travis Wahlmeier is one of the pilots that flies a helicopter for KHP. He said the flights help people see what numbers are showing.
“To actually go out and see it in the aircraft and see how much five feet of elevation of water really spreads out and see how much water it really is out there,” said Wahlmeier.
“Lot of corn fields that are underwater, multiple roads are flooded over and impassable, farms are isolated to where you couldn’t get a road in or out,” said Wahlmeier describing what he has seen in the air.
The EOC uses river gauges to see and predict what levels could be. But seeing what’s being affected from a different point of view can better prepare others if rains continue.
“We’ve looked at both the rivers and the lakes, we’ve had flights that have dam footage from each of the reservoirs, so we can look and see is there any impacts to the dams and levees and then looking downstream, what are the impacts to the local communities as that water moves,” said Montgomery.
The Air Force’s Civil Air Patrol also provide still pictures highlighting the differences before the rain began.