The Ninnescah River goes out of its banks as rain creates minor flooding conditions in Pratt County.
Persistent rain continues to fall in and around Pratt causing flooding problems on the Ninnescah River and at several road locations in the county.
Tim Branscom, Pratt County Emergency Manager, said the Ninnescah River crested at 11.06 feet Wednesday and that is two feet above the nine feet minor flood level. The Ninnescah reached 14.66 feet during the Labor Day flood of 2018 when the river overtopped the Pratt County Veteran’s Memorial Lake, causing damage to the lake facilities and the inflow and outflow valves and other damage to the lake.
The lake was being drained to make repairs on the valves and the level had been reached where repairs could begin but the rains this week have put a stop to those repairs until the water level drops again, said Doug Freund, county road and bridge supervisor.
The Ninnescah has risen so much that water at the outlet tube was actually flowing back into the lake on the east end. On the west end of the lake, water was roaring through a culvert under SE 30th Avenue. Water on the opposite side of the road was nearly at pavement level. This is a part of the roadway drainage system so there’s nothing Freund can do about it.
Freund said that the problem with the valves has not changed with the new round of flooding and that situation hasn’t gotten worse. Now it becomes a waiting game for Freund. The Ninnescah has dropped to just above the nine foot level again. But rain continues to fall with rain reports ranging from 3.25 inches to 4.85 inches in the county and still counting as rain amounts continue to rise. That could cause the river to rise again.
Freund said he would just have to wait and see when the rain stops before the lake can be drained again and work can begin.
Across the county, there were other areas impacted by the incessant rain. On SE 100th Avenue between SE 50th and SE 60th Avenues, water came up over the road for a distance of from 75 to 100 feet. But the water receded and was under the bridge at that location although it was running fast and wide.
Water was also crossing roads in several locations south of U.S. 54 causing some road closures. But it was nothing like the Labor Day Flood in 2018. And no highways were closed because of the rain, Branscom said.
Water was over roads in and around the Cairo area. Sheriff Jimmy White said there were several roads in the county that had washout areas and were closed.
In Pratt, the Ninnescah River had flooded portions of Lemon Park, prompting a closure of both vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Yellow Sheriff’s Office tape was placed across the walking entrances to the park to help keep people out. White said he didn’t want children getting into the park and wanted to avoid a potential tragedy. He also didn’t want children playing in the water because it was foul.