Stop-logs to be deployed as Arkansas River nears record levels
River predicted to crest at 22.3 feet early on May 28, but more rain possible
UPDATE (11 AM May 26): Stop-logs are no longer being considered. Read update at http://arkansascityks.gov/news_detail_T6_R518.php.
ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (May 25, 2019) — The Arkansas River at Arkansas City will approach record flooding levels in the next few days and possibly could exceed them in the event of any further rainfall.
A flood warning continues until further notice. Moderate flooding is occurring and major flooding is forecast. The Arkansas was at 18.2 feet and rising at 7 p.m. May 25.
Flood stage is 11 feet. Anything in excess of 21 feet is considered major flooding. The river is projected to crest at 22.3 feet early May 28.
More rainfall is predicted tonight, which could alter this forecast further. For further updates, please monitor the City of Arkansas City Facebook page at www.facebook.com/arkcity through the weekend.
The City’s Public Works Department will begin preparations on May 26 to install stop-logs and sandbags in the levee on West Madison Avenue. This closure will not affect traffic because that stretch of roadway already has been closed due to ongoing reconstruction of the West Madison Avenue bridge.
This flooding is not expected to affect the South Summit Street bridge on U.S. 77. Preparations to close that bridge do not even begin until flooding reaches 27 feet, which is 5 feet higher than the Arkansas River is currently predicted to crest.
The highest recorded level on the Arkansas River at Ark City is 28.89 feet, during the historic 1998 flood. But that measurement was recorded by a gauge on the old West Madison bridge. The gauge since has been moved downriver to the South Summit bridge, which is 6 feet lower. Thus, the adjusted record for the Arkansas would be 22.89 feet, so the projected crest is within 6 inches of record levels.
“If you made preparations to evacuate during the 1998 flood on the Arkansas River, please consider making those same preparations now,” said City Manager Nick Hernandez.
While the levee is currently working properly, there is always the possibility of levee failure when the soil is as saturated as it is now.
Police officers will be going door to door May 26 to notify residents at risk in low-lying areas.
“We are taking all possible precautions at this time,” said Vice Mayor Karen Welch. “We urge citizens to remain alert, and to take reasonable measures to protect their lives, health and property.”
Volunteers are not currently needed to help fill sandbags, but citizens will be notified if this changes.
At 21 feet, preparations are made to close U.S. 166 west of the river. This level of major flooding also causes the City to begin planning to install stop-logs in the levee on West Madison Avenue.
At 27 feet, preparations would be made to close U.S. 77 south of the river. This level of record flooding would cause the City to begin installing stop-logs in the levee on South Summit Street. Water would not begin to overtop the levee until the river level reaches 35 feet. This has never occurred.
Walnut River flooding not as severe
A flood warning also continues for the Walnut River at Arkansas City until late May 29.
Minor flooding is occurring, but only moderate flooding is forecast.
At 7 p.m. May 25, the Walnut’s stage was 19.7 feet. Flood stage is 18 feet. The river will continue rising to near 23.8 feet by May 27. The Walnut will fall below flood stage by May 29.
At 24 feet, the last C Street Canal gate is closed in the Walnut River levee on the U.S. 77 bypass.