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A lot of water, but no flooding
River flow will begin to drop heading into weekend
new_deh_ark river flood stages pic.jpg
Pictured is a quickly flowing Arkansas River just south of Great Bend Tuesday evening. Despite recent rains, the river is expected to crest at just over nine feet, which is below flood stage. - photo by Dale Hogg

Anyone crossing the Arkansas River south of Great Bend now will see a lot of water flowing where there is usually just a trickle. But, despite the recent deluge, the river will crest at 9.7 feet Thursday which is below flood stage, Barton County Emergency Management Director Amy Miller said.

According to the National Weather Service’s Great Bend river gauge, the Ark will hit this maximum at about midday Thursday. This is just under the 10-foot mark, and anywhere between the 10- and 12-foot stage are considered “action” stages by the NWS.

However, “minor” flooding can occur between 12 and 16 feet, the NWS notes. Between 16 and 18 feet is considered “moderate,” and 18 and over is categorized as “major.”

In the days leading up to Tuesday, the river ran at stage one, with less than 1,000 cubic feet of water flow (water flow is measured in thousands of cubic feet per second, or kcfs). By comparison, by the time it hits the crest, the Ark will flow at about 4.5 kcfs.

After hitting its peak, the NWS expects the river to drop to stage seven (about two kcfs) by Sunday morning. 

As points of reference, the NWS lists top river crests at Great Bend.

• The top five are:

1. 17.18 feet on June 23, 1965

2. 15.80 feet on Aug. 26, 1923

3. 15.70 feet on June 10, 1921

4. 15.47 feet on July 30, 1958

5. 15.06 feet on 05/25/1951

• Recent crests are:

1. 11.18 feet on July 4, 2016  

2. 8.97 feet on June 15, 2010

3. 9.49 feet on May 6, 2007

4. 7.76 feet on Aug. 22, 2006

5. 7.06 feet on June 10, 2001

Elsewhere on the Arkansas, it crested at 10.3 feet near Larned mid-morning Wednesday. The surge is expected to reach Hutchinson Sunday morning with it will max out at 10.1 feet.

The sun made appearances Wednesday and Thursday. But, the forecast calls for showers flowing back into the area Friday and Saturday.