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Rain pours down on KS community

BY GEORGE PIPER | HUTCHINSON, Kan. | July 20, 1999

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (July 20, 1999) - Rainfall amounts up to 12 inches drenched

central Kansas on Friday, flooding some 105 homes in and around Hutchinson.

The deluge overwhelmed the city's storm sewers and sent water cascading into

basements and cellars. Some residents awoke early Saturday to find water

heaters, furnaces and stored items soaked by the flooding. Water up to four

feet high made travel risky.

Officially, Hutchinson received 7.5 inches of rain, mainly between 7 p.m.

and midnight, although one person reported 12 inches in his rain gauge.

Longtime residents told Bill Guy, Reno County emergency management director,

that they had never seen rainfall like that.

About 100 people evacuated their homes, and 24 of them spent Friday night at

a National Guard Armory. No injuries were reported.

Through Monday morning, the county and the local American Red Cross chapter

tallied 105 homes affected. Two single-family homes were destroyed, while 14

residences -- including homes, mobile homes and apartments -- sustained major

damage.

"It could have been a whole lot worse," Guy said. "We have flood control

canals throughout town, and it did help some."

The Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Mennonite Disaster Service spent the

weekend helping people clean homes and salvage items. Volunteer agencies

also are feeding families and distributing cleanup kits to survivors.

The nearby Arkansas River did not threaten Hutchinson with flooding,

although Cow Creek did overflow and created additional problems. The creek

also flooded on Monday, although Guy said it was not expected to impact

residences.

Although Hutchinson isn't considered in a flood plain, the Arkansas River

and Cow Creek have flood at least a half dozen times in the past three

years. Survivors did not have flood insurance, noted Guy, and the damage,

estimated by some at several thousand dollars, may not be severe enough for

a Federal Emergency Management Agency declaration.

"A lot of people are going to be bearing the brunt of the cost of the

cleanup," he said.

Posted July 20, 1999


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