Archive for Saturday, September 13, 2008

Flooding causes headaches for parts of southern Kansas

September 13, 2008


— Constant heavy rainfall on Friday caused flooding throughout south-central Kansas, leading officials to close some roads and schools.

The National Weather Service reported up to 9 inches of rain in some areas, with more rain still expected. A flood watch was in effect for parts of central, eastern and southern Kansas until today. The forecast called for occasional showers and isolated thunderstorms, with the local possibility of heavy rainfall throughout the night.

Several schools in the region canceled classes or ended early Friday. Numerous roads were closed at times, and officials throughout the area warned residents to avoid flooded areas.

Wichita officials were cautiously watching Cowskin Creek, which was expected to crest at 21.6 feet this morning. Numerous stalled cars were reported, and fire and emergency management officials were warning residents in the areas where flooding was possible.

In El Dorado, officials urged residents of low-lying areas to head for higher ground. City Manager Herb Llewellyn said that the West Branch of Walnut Creek caused some street flooding. He said the city placed reverse 911 calls and went door-to-door to urge affected residents to evacuate. It was not a forced evacuation.

In Winfield, the Walnut River was expected to crest above 30 feet, prompting officials to evacuate the fairgrounds where people were camping out in anticipation of the Walnut Valley Festival, said Cowley County Emergency Management Director Brian Stone.

In a news release, the festival said temporary camping sites were available at Black Creek Park, the Broadway Sports Complex, Winfield City Lake and Winfield Livestock Auction Facility.

Hal Kurz, a Baldwin City resident attending the festival, which begins next week, said the river shot up a great deal more than he thought was possible in eight hours.

"We were down in the west campground at 2 a.m., and the water hadn't even (risen) above the bank at all," Kurz said. "But when I came and looked at it this morning, it had doubled."

Kurz said the rapidly rising flood waters have definitely caught many campers off guard, and many are scrambling to get their belongings out of the affected areas.

"Everybody was getting stuck and needing to be pulled out," Kurz said.


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