Pratt County Commissioners get update on county roads, lake and damages from the Sept. 3 flood.
Pratt County Emergency Manager Tim Branscom, presented an update on flood operations and current conditions that resulted from Labor Day flooding in the area to Pratt County Commissioners at their Sept. 4 meeting.
Branscom, along with County Fire and Rescue Chief Bill Hampton, Sheriff Jimmy White and County Road and Bridge Supervisor Doug Freund made reports on their activity during Monday’s flood. There were several reports of over eight inches of rainfall in the county.
Officially, the Ninnescah River crested at 14.46 feet, 5.5 feet over flood stage and four and a half feet higher than the previous record at 11 feet, Branscom said.
Commissioners signed a declaration of emergency for the county. The county has to suffer at least $3,500 in uninsured losses and the state has to have $4 million in losses to qualify for emergency funding. Branscom said it should be no problem meeting those numbers.
Pratt County agencies worked well together to respond to the disaster, though there were some obstacles. White said their office received a number of calls that were not emergencies and were not necessary during the emergency.
Hampton said they quickly learned their res- cue boat was not big enough to safely handle water rescues.
A communication problem came to light because of the flood. There is a repeater tower in the D&R Trucking lot on the north end of town and water came within four feet of covering the electronics so it needs to be raised.
“We almost lost the repeater,” Branscom said. If that had happened, some communication would have been lost among emergency services.
Another problem was people ignoring road closed signs and driving through moving water. Freund said his department can put up signs to close a road but many paid no attention. Some barricades were even stolen. Barton County brought extra barricades to help out because there were so many closed roads.
This flood was very fast moving. Freund said at 5 a.m. there was no water on some roads and by 5:30 p.m. those same roads were impassable.
Rescue operations worked to save a man and dog north of Waldeck at the river with successful results. Several people were safely gotten off piers at the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake.
Winkel said the recycle center had about 2.5 feet of water inside. Sheet rock, insulation and recycle containers were wet along with a computer, stereo and refrigerator.