Flooded roads start off week of flooding dangers

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Flooded roads cause problems in rural Reno County.  More expected to flood through Tuesday. Flooded roads cause problems in rural Reno County. More expected to flood through Tuesday.
Reno County Emergency Management warns drivers not to drive through flooded roads.  "Turn around, don't drown." Reno County Emergency Management warns drivers not to drive through flooded roads. "Turn around, don't drown."
RENO COUNTY, Kan. (KAKE) -

Days of wet and rainy weather has led to flood warnings across the state, some lasting through the end of the week.  For now, it’s mostly flooded roads.  But folks who live near rising creeks and rivers are preparing for worse.

“There’s some years that are worse than others,” said Harvey Phillips.  He lives near the Cow Creek in Reno Township.  In his more than four decades here he’s gotten used to road flooding trapping him in his home.

“We lose the road access about seven days a year, on average,” he said.

That’s why he’s already getting ready for worse to come later in the week.

“Went to town and got supplies,” he said, pointing to bags of groceries in his truck.  “Eggs and bread, sausage, those things you have to have to exist.”

KAKE First Alert Weather

Flood warning info from the National Weather Service

So far the flooding in Reno County is minor, water rushing over roads and drowning local farm fields.“Starting to sprinkle a little, isn’t it?” Harvey laughed as the rain began coming down harder Monday morning.  “Are you having fun out here?”

“The ground is already saturated.  They’re predicting another two to four inches on top of what we already have.  So there’s really nowhere for the water to go at this point,” Adam Weishaar, director of Reno County Emergency Management, explained. 

He said the flooding so far is mostly from heavy local rains.  But, he added, as high waters farther north force local creeks and rivers out of their banks later this week, things are likely to get worse before they get better.

Harvey is ready for it.

“Of course, you know, the guy who’s in charge of that isn’t me,” Harvey laughed.  “So I have to go with whatever he says is up.”

The number of flooded roads in Reno County increased throughout the day.  In some cases, nearby residents told KAKE News they hadn’t seen the road flood in about a decade.  That’s kept road crews busy.

“Everything is wet, rough, slimy and underwater,” said R.J. Wenzel.  A Reno Township Trustee he’s also the local road supervisor, in charge of making sure the roads stay drivable.  This week’s rainy weather has made that job a lot harder.

“Putting up barricades, closing roads,” he said, describing his Monday.  “Hopefully, if it dries enough in a day or two we can get out  here and try and smooth them up a little bit, cause they are definitely rough today.”

That’s unlikely, though, and, just like Harvey Phillips, he knows it.

“What we’re worried about is when it rains up north of here. It’ll take two, three, four days and then all of this will be flooded underwater,” Wenzel said.

Even as he’s inspecting roads throughout the township to make sure they’re safe for drivers, Weishaar is warning drivers to beware.

“Whether it’s changing your route on the way home or just looking at weather before you venture out,” Weishaar said, it’s important to think ahead right now.  And, if you run into a flooded road, he adds the warning, “Turn around, don’t drown.”