Floods trap Belle Plaine family

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SUMNER COUNTY, Kan. (KAKE) -

“Every time it floods we're pretty much stuck here,” said Matt Hutchison, who was able to leave his home for the first time in days Tuesday.

Some folks simply expect flooding to leave them stranded, but not three times in a month.  The Hutchisons know their farm floods when the nearby river overflows its banks.  They’ve got a boat.  They’ve got plans.  But they’ve not seen flooding like this before.

“I've got to try and get to work today so that I don't lose any more time,” Matt said after slogging through floodwaters that still reached high up his shins Tuesday morning.

Though still flowing across the road, the floodwaters had come down enough he could finally get out of the house.  Over the weekend, though, it was a different story.

“We have a trampoline that the water was covering.  We could boat over the trampoline,” Matt described.  “(The water) gets up to six foot deep in some areas.”

Matt and his wife say living within a block of the Ninnescah River, flooding is a known problem for them.

“We expect flooding,” he said.  “We prepare for it.”

They’ve raised the house up so it doesn’t get flooded, and have a boat to get around on the farm.  But that’s not enough to let them get off the farm in the worst of the flooding.

“So far this month we've been in about 9 days. not consecutive, but the first flood three days, then last week three days, and then this weekend three days,” Matt said.

The water coming down from a nearby railroad bridge is part of the problem.  It creates a strong current at the intersection.  When the water gets to be two, three, four feet deep, that current packs a punch.

“Which makes it impossible to get the boat across,” Matt sighed.

He says they’ve actually seen the water deeper than this.  That’s not their biggest problem this year.

“This time it's just been the length of the flood. and the... the frequency of all the rain,” he said.

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