At 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the amount of water running through Big Creek winding through the city’s Frontier Park was measuring 438 cubic feet per second, said Lori Marintzer, hydrologic technician for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hays office of the Kansas Water Science Center.
“It’s definitely up from normal,” said Marintzer. “For reference, it peaked yesterday at 1,150 cubic feet per second at 10:30 a.m.”
That compares to a median of 12 cubic feet per second on May 23 for the many decades the USGS has collected Big Creek’s stream flow data.
“One cubic foot is about the size of a basketball, so right now you can imagine 438 basketballs passing under the bridge every second,” she said.
The Big Creek measuring gauge is near US-183 highway just south of Hays, Marintzer said.
While water levels are high right now in Frontier Park, they aren’t cause for concern at this point, says City of Hays parks director Jeff Boyle.
The low-water dam in Frontier Park is underwater. And Big Creek has spilled over the banks in a few low-lying areas, leaving some walking paths a little sloshy. But for the most part, the spring rains have been manageable in the park.
“Most of the grass seeding we did earlier is out of what we call the flood plain, so these rains are very beneficial for the grass.
“If it gets a whole lot deeper than now, we have to go in and move the Frisbee baskets,” Boyle said. “We’re watching it.”
For now, though, “we’re just trying to keep up with all the mowing,” Boyle said.