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Flood forces evacuation

News editor

Homes and campsites were evacuated and roads closed Monday because of flooding from heavy rain that fell overnight Sunday.

Amounts varied, with reports generally ranging from 2½ to 4 inches. The largest rainfall was reported by a Weather Underground reporting station in Durham.

“Had a real toad strangler today,” the station operator noted on its webpage. “Ended up with a total of 5 inches here in Durham for yesterday and today.”

Wheat fields were too muddy to allow harvest to start in earnest, and Jirak Brothers Produce of Tampa reported $5,000 of vegetables headed to the dump because of the wet weather.

The storm spouted a funnel cloud north of US-56 near Remington Rd., but the funnel never touched ground, and the National Weather Service did not report a tornado in the county.

Doyle Creek in Peabody overflowed its banks, forcing the evacuation of four homes, emergency management director Randy Frank said.

A car was swept off the road west of Peabody near 60th and Mustang Rds.. The driver got out safely.

A home near Florence also was evacuated, as the Cottonwood River rose 18 feet in 12 hours, hitting a flood stage level of 22.04 feet at 4:30 p.m. at a monitoring station east of town. The flow crested at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday at 24.33 feet.

Many campers at Marion Reservoir made early exits Monday because of rising lake levels, lead park ranger Melissa Bean said.

“Everybody got out; there were no flooded campers,” she said. “The advantage to Marion as opposed to other lakes is that the pool rises slower, so it gives us a little more time to react.”

The reservoir was 2.8 feet above normal conservation pool Tuesday, inundating half of the available campsites. French Creek Cove camping area was completely closed, Bean said.

Boat launches remained open except at Cottonwood Point. Bean said boaters should watch for trees and other debris that could have washed in from the storm.

Excess water won’t be released until flood conditions in Oklahoma have subsided, Bean said.

“I really can’t commit to when that will happen,” she said. “Right now we haven’t made any changes to our outflow. Eastern Oklahoma is getting some tropical moisture from the gulf. They’re predicting 6 to 10 inches down there.”

The most noticeable effect at Marion County Lake was water flowing over a low-water bridge on Lakeshore Dr., which closed for about five hours.

While it was inconvenient for lake residents, it was a boon for fisherman, lake superintendent Steve Hudson said.

“Usually when we get high water that goes over the cement slab, it brings in some fresh fish,” he said. “The channel cat get pretty active when that happens.”

The lake was about two feet higher than normal, but Hudson said no campsites were affected.

Federal Emergency Management Agency and Kansas Division of Emergency Management officials were in Marion on Monday to evaluate the county’s May 4 disaster aid application.

During that meeting, roads supervisor Jesse Hamm estimated 380 miles of county roads were impassable because of damage caused by flooding Monday and in May.

Commissioner Dan Holub said that water was flowing over Nighthawk Rd. on Monday evening. Cottonwood River flooding shut down 140th Rd. east of US-77.

New damage would be eligible for FEMA assistance under the May 4 application, Frank said.

“The impacts are still hard to figure out; a lot of the county is still inundated,” Frank said. “We’ve got to let the water go down. Until then, we don’t know what the totality of the damage might be.”

Last modified June 17, 2015

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