By Jim Misunas
The Kansas Department of Transportation reopened K-14/96 Wednesday morning after flooding occurred between the Avenue T (Alden blacktop) intersection and the south city limits of Lyons in Rice County. The road was closed at 11 a.m. Monday. Many of the nearby county roads were also closed due to high water from Cow Creek.
KDOT personnel routed northbound traffic on K-14/96 along a detour using Avenue T (RS 571 Alden blacktop) and 8th Road (RS 360 Chase blacktop) to U.S. 56 Monday through Wednesday morning. It’s the most extensive Rice County flooding since 2007.
Five to seven inches of rain fell Saturday and Sunday in Barton and Rice counties.
Greg Kline, Rice County emergency management, said Cow Creek’s flood level is 18 feet and water levels reached 18.9 feet at 2:01 a.m. Tuesday. The river will continue rising to near 19.1 feet by Tuesday morning and then begin falling.
Cow Creek rose to near 19 feet by Monday evening. The county road that is 1,000 feet south of the gaging site along the right bank begins to flood. Emergency management officials alerted residents near Cow Creek to evacuate Sunday.
“Water went across K-14 about 3 a.m. Monday and there has been road damage because of the deep water crossing the roadway,” Kline said. “We’re watching it daily. A lot of the county blacktop routes are also closed.”
Kline said the water level is within its banks at Claflin, a good sign that Cow Creek’s water level will return below flood level south of Lyons by Tuesday. Cow Creek will fall below flood stage Tuesday or Wednesday.
Traffic on U.S. 56 has not been affected. High water from Cow Creek has flooded a roadside park at 11th Road at U.S. 56, but the water has not crossed the U.S. 56.
Kline said other Rice County roads closed were 22nd Road; 8th Road north of Chase; 6th Road south of Bushton; Ave. Q and Ave. V.; and 26th Road near Little River because of the Little Arkansas City. Street flooding was reported Sunday in Lyons, Sterling and Bushton.
Rice County officials have set up a temporary shelter for displaced residents at the Celebration Center of Rice County, 1145 U.S. 56, in Lyons.
Last week, Main Street and 26th Road south of Little River were both closed due to flooding. Ave. I, Ave. J and 28th Road south of U.S. 56 were also flooded.
Numerous county roads across southern Barton County remain flooded Monday. A few roads near Claflin remain impassible.
Barton County was under a flood warning Sunday and Monday when local law enforcement officials reported that excessive runoff from the earlier heavy rainfall continued across the warned area. Many roads in the southeast part of the county, including Ellinwood, were affected by high water.
Counties west and south of Barton County were under a flood warning or flood watch Sunday and Monday.
Drivers are not advised to drive into areas where water covers the roadway. The water depth and possible road damage may prevent a vehicle from crossing safely. Drivers are cautioned to be especially careful at night when it is harder to recognize the dangers of flooding.