Torrential rains Sept 3 dumped from six to over eight inches of rain across the county causing heavy flooding on the Ninnescah River pushing water over the banks and causing numerous road closures especially in the Pratt area. Parks and the Pratt County Veteran's Memorial Lake were filled to overflowing. Several families in low lying areas had to be rescued.

The usually placid Ninnescah River turned into a rampaging giant Sept. 3, and flood waters caused highway and street closings on the south side of Pratt, due to six or more inches of rain that fell on much of the county overnight.

Roads on the south side of Pratt were closed as far east as 60th Avenue and more than 30 miles to the west of Pratt, according to Pratt County Sheriff’s Lt. Cole Schmidtberger.

“We’ve been busy since 6 a.m. barricading roads, rerouting traffic and helping people prepare to evacuate if necessary,” Schmidtberger said.

Water drained into the Ninnescah River and it breached its banks quickly, flowing out into parks, streets and backyards in city limits.

At Country Estates Mobile Home and RV Park, resident Tabitha Hemphill said there was no water at 8 a.m. but just 15 minutes later, water was coming across her yard. Water had not reached her house but she was keeping a close eye on the water in case she had to evacuate.

Other residents were not so lucky. High clearance vehicles and a boat were brought in to rescue them from the fast rising waters, said Tim Branscom, Pratt County Emergency Manager.

On the west side of Pratt, water exploded out of its banks along West River Road and residents were alerted to be prepared to evacuate. In several places in the county, the river got out of its banks so wide that it was flooding on both sides of bridges but didn’t go over the bridges themselves.

Emergency responders knocked on several doors across the flood area and recommended that occupants evacuate.

Rescue workers also responded to the Waldeck area to rescue a stranded man in the water about a mile north of U.S. 54 at NE 70th Avenue. He was safely rescued from the water.

Flooding waters caused several roads to close including County Club Road, West River Road, Mound Street north of the railroad tracks, Simpson Street, SE 25th Avenue by Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and U.S. 281 on the south side of Pratt.

The heavy rainfall covered about three quarters of the county and although he had not had time to get out and inspect all the roads, Branscom said he expected many county roads to be flooded and damaged. He would not be sure until the water re- ceded and he could get a visual on the bridges. He cautioned everyone to not drive through water over roads.

Flood water completely covered Pratt County Veteran’s Memorial Lake. Water went over the roads, piers, the island and completely filled the Ninnesah River on the north side of the lake. It spread out for hundreds of feet to the north, south and east sides of the lake to a point that only the tops of the pier shelters were visible, Branscom said.

Although he couldn’t see the dam at the east end of the lake, Branscom said he would not be surprised if water had gone over the top of the dam. A survey of the dam at 2 p.m. revealed the dam was in good shape.

“There are no concerns about the dam at this time,” Branscom said.

Water surrounded the city water treatment plant but there was no problem or damage to the facility.

The Green Nature Trail was completely covered by flood water. Ralph Lanterman said he was able to get some equipment off the trail site but the water was rising rapidly as he worked.

Several roads remained closed Monday afternoon including West River Road, Country Club Road, U.S. 281, a section of Highway 42 and Mound Street by May Dennis Park. These roads would remain closed until the water recedes and they have been inspected. Branscom said Lemon Park, May Dennis Park and Green Nature Trail will remain closed until further notice.

The national weather service reported more rain is predicted for the area Monday night. Exactly how much rain could hit is uncertain, but torrential rains have been forecast.

“It may be a little, may be a lot,” Branscom said.

As of about 2:30 p.m. on Monday, there were no reports of injury from the flood. Property damage reports were not available at press time.

Many emergency services were involved in rescuing flood victims, manning the barricades and controlling traffic. Pratt City Police, Pratt County Sheriff ’s Office, City Fire, County Fire and Emergency Services, Township Fire Departments, Kansas Highway Patrol, American Red Cross, Emergency Management, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Kansas Department of Transportation, County Road, City Road and the public works departments.