Storm causes flooding in Garden City Wednesday

8/1/2013

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

Heavy rainfall and high winds caused street flooding and tree damage in Garden City Wednesday night.

According to Mike Umscheid, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Dodge City, the dual polarization radar they use indicated rainfall totals from 1.5 to 2.5 inches as of Wednesday night.

"We haven't had anything official yet. Usually in the morning is when we get those amounts," Umscheid said.

Winds of 60 mph also broke tree limbs, trees and power poles in Garden City.

"We had several reports of 60 mph wind gusts, and that brought a couple of power poles down and a lot of tree limbs down," Umscheid said.

He said the dust and wind began blowing at around 4:30 p.m.

"And then the really heavy rains were from 4:45 through until a little before 5:30 p.m.," Umscheid said.

He said the storm that came through Garden City originated in Scott County and radar indicated that 3 to 4 inches of rain fell near the Scott/Finney county line, near Friend.

"The storm traveled straight south from Scott County. It basically followed Highway 83," Umscheid said.

According to the radar, Umscheid said, 3 to 4 inches of rain fell in northeast Kearny County, 1 to 2.5 inches of rain fell near Sublette, and 1 to 2 inches of rain fell in Ulysses, while both Copeland and Cimarron received only about a quarter of an inch.

According to Toby Witthuhn, golf course superintendent at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, that area received 2.4 inches, and he said friends of his who live about a mile east of Plymell received 3.4 inches of rain.

The heavy rainfall caused several streets in Garden City to flood as gutter systems struggled to keep up.

Michael Paz-Torres, director of Finney County Emergency Management, helped stranded motorists on Kansas Avenue, which was closed early Wednesday evening from Center Street to Campus Drive.

"There were probably 15 to 20 stranded cars just on Kansas Avenue," Paz-Torres said.

Garden City Police Capt. Michael Reagle said parts of Kansas Avenue from the Five Points intersection east were also flooded and that there were some problem areas along Fulton Street, as well.

At approximately 6:30 p.m., the GCPD posted a message to its Facebook page requesting that people stay off city streets.

Residents reported on The Telegram's Facebook page that the intersection of Eighth Street and Buffalo Jones Avenue was submerged, and in a photo posted by one resident, the drainage ditch behind Georgia Matthews Elementary School was nearly full of water. One photo even showed water in the normally dried out Arkansas River bed.

Main Street also was submerged in spots. Randy Bartel, owner of the Bike Rack, 207 N. Main St., said rain water came up to his front door, resulting in wet carpet.

"We've been vacuuming. We had water up to the front door, and then every time a car would come by, it would just splash in, so we barricaded the front door to keep the waves from breaking in," he said.

Servicemaster Clean, which provides disaster restoration services, including water pumping and carpet cleaning services, received a number of calls Wednesday night.

Ashley Calloway, customer service representative at Servicemaster Clean, headquartered in Hutchinson, said approximately 10 calls came in Wednesday night for Garden City, and that the majority of the calls were for flooded basements.

Scott Murrison, owner of Murrison Environmental, said that he also anticipates having his hands full today. Murrison is an environmental consultant to several area feedyards, helping them keep their holding ponds in compliance with state regulations.

"So I get to go play in the ponds (today), making sure nobody discharged," Murrison said.

Discharging occurs when a pond, which is used for waste control, overflows.

Two of the feedyards he serves are located in Finney County.

"The bigger rains, the shorter durations — that's when things get hectic, so I'll be making sure they get back in compliance within 10 days," Murrison said, adding that it will require the water and waste to be pumped out.

Umscheid said there was another chance for rain in Garden City overnight, but that it wasn't expected to amount to much.

"There is another risk for severe storms (Thursday) afternoon and evening, and there are more chances for rain through the weekend, into next week," he said.

According to the National Weather Service's website, forecast.weather.gov, there is a 30 percent chance for showers and thunderstorms after 9 a.m. today and a 20 percent chance for rain and thunderstorms before midnight tonight; a 20 percent chance for showers and thunderstorms Friday night; and a 40 percent chance for showers and thunderstorms Saturday night.

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