Flooding preparations began Friday in the city of Albert due to the heavy rains that fell west of the city last week. Meanwhile, U.S. 281 and NW 100 Road south of Hoisington were shut down due to water across the roadway, Barton County Administrator Phil Hathcock said.
Residents in Ellinwood and Great Bend also prepared for the possibility of high water.
By Saturday afternoon, water was receding from U.S. 281, which had reopened, along with NW 100 Road, often called Keystone Road, from U.S. 281 to NW 40 Ave., or Boyd Blacktop, Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir said.
“Barton County roads are a mess,” Bellendir said. “A lot of them are still covered with water. Obviously, we’re watching the forecast.”
The situation in Albert Saturday wasn’t as bad as feared; however, the Wet Walnut Creek isn’t expected to crest until Sunday, officials said.
Rush County reported flooding along the Wet Walnut Creek and the National Weather Service issued a flooding warning for the Wet Walnut Creek at Albert Friday morning. Barton County was in a flood warning for the Arkansas River.
Rush County Undersheriff Lyle Hammerschmidt said County Road 390, the Otis Blacktop, was closed Saturday. On Friday, K-96 was closed for most of the morning from Ness City to Rush Center, and a car entered floodwater near Nekoma.
The Wet Walnut had come down a considerable amount by Saturday afternoon, Hammerschmidt said. There had been flooding in Timken, with water over most of the streets, but they were passable.
The City of Albert provided sandbags and sand for its residents to prepare before flood waters reach the community. The Barton County Detention Center provided inmates Friday to help residents fill sandbags. On Saturday the City of Ellinwood provided sandbags and sand for residents and the jail again provided inmates to help with the work, according to Amy Miller, Barton County Emergency Preparedness director.
The Barton County Health Department was also at the Albert Fire Station on Friday, providing tetanus shots for residents and volunteers assisting in the effort.
Hathcock said the county is trying to keep its website (www.bartoncounty.org) updated with the latest weather information and road closures.
The City of Great Bend also provided sandbags on Friday but said that due to being low on manpower, residents would need to be prepared to fill their own bags. Saturday morning, City Attorney Bob Suelter said the National Weather Service had issued two flood warnings for the area and that city staff and officials would continue to monitor the status of our flood control for Great Bend.
“We have plenty of capacity for extra water to get it through town should it come our way. Our flood control system is working just as it should,” Suelter said. City staff drained some of the water from Veterans Memorial Lake on Friday into the Dry Walnut Creek to allow more capacity for that area of town should it rain again.