Ellis County was out of the target area for the worst of Monday night’s severe weather, but rain in the forecast through Wednesday night could present other dangers.
With reports across the county ranging from 0.38 inch near Munjor to just under 5 inches in Ellis, flooding is a possibility, the National Weather Service said.
“The ground’s already saturated, so you could see some easier chances for flooding. If creeks are up and there’s already some low-lying areas of water, you could see some areas of flooding tonight,” Jeff Johnson, lead forecaster at the Dodge City National Weather Service office, said Tuesday morning.
Another round of severe weather is expected Tuesday night, but areas that will see the highest threat of severe weather is along the Oklahoma border into Texas, Johnson said.
For Wednesday, severe weather is expected in eastern Kansas, he said.
On the Facebook page Ellis, Kansas Rain Totals, Travis Kohlrus reported “just shy” of 5 inches of rain. A couple of others reported 4.5 inches. A report from the Iowa State University Environmental Mesonet website showed a report of 3.76 inches in Ellis as of 9:10 a.m. Tuesday.
On the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, a 7 a.m. report recorded 1.77 inches 4 miles northeast of Ellis.
Bill Ring, Ellis County Public Works director, said he measured 1.5 inches at his home 5 miles east of Ellis.
Ring’s department closed several county roads Tuesday morning and he expected more closings to trickle in through the day as his staff reported in.
“We’ve got people out there trying to ascertain where the worst damage is and set cones and barricades as needed,” Ring said.
The 2900 block of Saline River Road remained closed due to the road being washed out. Ring said that is one of several roads in the county being affected by higher water tables.
“There’s springs that have now come up through the roadways. The water is coming up through the bottom and it’s undermining the road,” he said.
“We had so much water between last year and this year, the water table is so high and the ground is so saturated, it can’t suck it up,” he said.
Ring said if drivers encounter water over roadways, they should follow the adage “Turn around, don’t drown.”
“If the road is washed out underneath, what looks like 5 or 6 inches of water could be 2 feet of water, which will float a car these days,” he said.
“We ask people to not go cruising because there are bad spots out there. Drive accordingly to the conditions, not the speed limit,” he said.
Water over roadways or washed-out roads that have not been blocked off can be reported to the Public Works Department at 785-628-9455 or the non-emergency number of the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, 785-625-1040.