Reno County Emergency Management staffing up for emergency operations as flood waters rise

The Hutchison Fire Department tweeted out a photo of the rescue near 85th and Mayfield after high water swept a vehicle into a ditch.

Earlier in the day, Reno County Emergency Management held a media briefing in which they said there had been at least two other water rescues since Tuesday.

Reno County Commissioners signed a disaster declaration for the county on Tuesday due to heavy flooding. Gov. Jeff Colyer issued a disaster declaration for a statewide response Wednesday afternoon.

The emergency management said while the run-off is expected to recede, Cow Creek, the Little Arkansas River, Arkansas River and the Ninnescah River will continue to rise.

A major concern is Cow Creek due to rainfall, the amount of the water in the creek now, and the water coming down from Rice County. Cow Creek is forecasted to crest at 12.4 feet on Saturday. The emergency management said if the water reaches this level, roadways could flood and residents could be significantly impacted.

Because this is not a flash flood event, residents are encouraged to have a plan and evacuate if need be.

“If you choose not to evacuate, the first responders will not risk their safety to come unless there is a life-safety concern,” the emergency management said in a release.

During the disaster declaration, it is illegal to drive around or enter a body of navigable water for recreational purposes.

The emergency management says it only takes two feet of water to wash a vehicle away. They say driving around barricades is illegal and strictly enforced.

Cow Creek flooding in Rice County near Lyons. (Photo Courtesy KHP)  [ +  – ]

RENO COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – The people who live along Cow Creek are still dealing with flooding. 

The Kansas Highway Patrol shared photos taken today while flying over Rice County, near Lyons. 

Currently, the Cow Creek, the Little Arkansas River and Ninnescah River are rising. Reno County Emergency Management said the rising waters will cause issues for Reno County residents into next week.

"There's really no meditating what's coming, we know the floodwaters are coming- especially in the northwestern part of Hutchinson," said Adam Weishaar, director of Reno County Emergency Management. "What we're doing now is we're staffing up our emergency operations center so, we're going to be down here 24 hours a day until this thing is taken care of."

"This is a very dynamic situation, road conditions are often changing faster than we are able to keep up with them," read a statement from Reno County Emergency Management. "Residents need to pay close attention to the roadways. If there is water across the road, do not drive through it. Six inches of water can sweep a vehicle off of the roadway. "

Authorities said two vehicles have already been swept off of the roadways due to drivers driving through flooded areas. 

Reno County residents are being asked to check back on the Reno County Sheriff's Office Facebook Page for information and road closings. Residents should also call 911 in the event of an emergency. 

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Posted in Reno