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High water floods fields, closes roads and forces rescues
new deh flood main pic web
A sign warns of flood water across West Barton County Road about nine miles west of Great Bend Sunday afternoon. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 A flood warning remained in effect until late Monday afternoon for much of Barton County as runoff from the weekend’s heavy rainfall continued to cause minor flooding problems. The flooding led to rolling of a Barton County Sheriff’s Office patrol car and forced the closure of some roads as they were covered in water.

Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir said the officer was westbound on K-96 when he hit a few inches of water across the roadway. He hydroplaned and wound up upside down in about four feet of standing water.

“He almost drowned,” Bellendir said, adding that he is OK. “It was a bad deal.”

He was rescued by a passing motorists. See related story.

According to the Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office, there was another incident of a truck being swept off a road Friday night. The vehicle got stuck in a field and the passengers were able to walk out and are OK.

The thunderstorms that rolled through the area dumped 7.78 inches of rain at the Great Bend Municipal Airport from Friday through Sunday. Roads were covered, creeks were out of their banks and the Great Bend flood control ditch was running close to full.

In addition to K-96, water crossed U.S. 56, U.S. 281 and West Barton County Road. The flooding receded from the highways within a few hours, but West Barton County Road remained flooded about nine miles west of Great Bend until Sunday.

There was no flood damage reported, other than that done to cropland, Bellendir said. As the Arkansas River ran high, there was also a report of a sandpit that had left its banks.

A brief cone tornado was reported Saturday night four miles southeast of Olmitz in Barton County. The tornado lifted quickly.

The largest hail, 1 1/2 inches, was reported at Claflin. One-inch hail was reported at Hoisington, three miles west of Claflin, Little River and two miles south of LaCrosse in Rush County. Lyons to Geneseo in Rice County reported 60 mph winds.

Buckner Creek near Burdett is expected to crest near 20 feet through early afternoon before falling.

The Pawnee River near Rozel and Sanford will crest a little below flood stage Sunday night into early Monday morning.

The system also covered the region with clouds and kept temperatures in the 70s and 80s, well below the average sizzling summer highs in the 90s and 100s.

In addition, similar rainfall amounts were reported in Pawnee County. That water also flowed in Barton County, adding to the flooding woes.

As excessive runoff from the recent heavy rainfall continued into Monday, the National Weather Service cautioned that it could still cause flooding of small creeks and streams, as well as farm and country roads. Some locations that were in the path of potential flooding included: Great Bend; Hoisington; Ellinwood; Claflin; Pawnee Rock; Albert; Olmitz; Galatia; Susank; Odin; Great Bend Airport; and Cheyenne Bottoms.

The service reminded residents not to attempt to travel across flooded roads.  

According to the NWS, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2 p.m. Tuesday. It will be mostly sunny, with a high near 96 along with a south southwest wind 7 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. Into the evening, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 2 a.m. Partly cloudy, with a low around 72. 

There is a slight chance for rain through the week with high temperatures in the mid to upper 90s.