Recent flood was 'probably a quarter or half a century event.'
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is back in business issuing licenses after a flood of historic levels shut down offices headquartered east of Pratt earlier this week.
Keith Sexson, assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and boating, said Wednesday afternoon that the licensing department, housed in the flooded basement of KDWPT, has been temporarily relocated to first and second floor areas that did not sustain major damage from overflow of the Ninnescah River Monday.
Space was made available on ground and second floor levels to accommodate the about 15 employees and nine offices that sustained damage. In addition to the licensing department, the information technology (IT) department was temporarily relocated from the basement to higher ground.
“We don’t have a dollar estimate of damages yet,” Sexson said. “I really have no idea.”
The basement area sustained some foundation damage and paper and other supplies stored in the offices were damaged.
Since returning to work Tuesday, following the Labor Day Holiday turned destructive, the 50-plus employees have pitched in to help with cleanup, Sexson said.
“Everyone here has been on board to help with the cleanup, so we can get back to business,” he said. “This is the first time KDWPT headquarters in Pratt has been flooded since it was completed in 1965.”
Flood waters covered the Kids Pond on the property and Centennial Pond across the road north from the Kids Pond.
Along with the damage to offices, there were more than 20 vehicles parked on the property that sustained damages as well, according to Sexson.
KDWPT does not carry commercial insurance, according to Sexson, because the state is self-insured.
“There may be some disaster relief,” Sexson said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
The waters that damaged KDWPT offices and deluged other regions of the city and county were at a 35-year high, according to Steve McClain, president of Sterling Drilling Inc. in Pratt.
McClain referred to information on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website which, he said, showed that this flood event crested higher (at 14.66’ at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2018) than any previous flood event since at least 1983.
“It is number one now for the last 35 years,” McClain said.
McClain uses a digital Davis weather station at his home which continually gathers data for a summary every 15 minutes of the day.
He provided the measurements of how the rain came down at his weather station just outside the city limits on the south edge of Pratt.
On Sunday from 4:30 to 7 p.m., 1.03 inches, and from 10 p.m. to midnight, .63 inches, and on Monday, from midnight to 2 a.m., 1.53 inches, from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., 1.64 inches and from 4 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., 1.70 inches, for a storm total of 6.53 inches.
“This flood was probably just a quarter or half a century event.” McClain said. ”A 100-year flood would be like throwing three rain events like we just had all into a few days or even a week.”