Heavy rains force road and school closures
Heavy rainfall across Butler County on Tuesday night closed roads and left some residents stranded. Several rainfall amounts of three to six inches have been reported across the county.
Schools in Augusta, Douglass and Rose Hill were closed Wednesday due to the numerous flooded county roads.
Sources at with the City of Douglass advise that currently there are no street closures in town.
Butler County dispatch reported that Highway 77 north out of Douglass was closed Wednesday morning, as well as 70th Street between Augusta and Andover. No reports of any residents in rural areas cut off by flood waters had been received.
In Augusta, residents in the Meadowview and Loomis areas are cut off from exit routes. Emergency personnel went door-to-door Tuesday night alerted residents that the floodgates for the levee system were in place on Kelly Road and Highland Dr.
The authorities are keeping an eye on the railroad on Highway 77 at the south edge of Augusta, as the water appears to be almost 4 feet deep at the crossing. The decision to close the crossing is pending.
Augusta Department of Safety Chief Bob Sage advised, “Our problem was the extreme amount of surface water running off...We really need people not to sight see and to please obey road closures and detours. Please do not drive through high water.”
It’s difficult for many Augusta residents to view the current flooding and not remember the historic October Flood of 1998. One of the hardest hit residential areas was Meadowview Acres, west of Garvin Park.
A promise for increased flood protection finally became a reality on June 22, 2012 when the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Levee Enhancement Project was held.
The new levee represents a $9.9 million investment, with 65 percent funded by the Army Corps of Engineers and the rest matched by Augusta and partners. The new project added 2,500 feet to the total length of the 4 mile system and a 5 foot height increase.
“ We’ve got all of the city pumps working and are trying to remove the water (inside the city) and are making some progress. We need Mother Nature to take a little pity on us today,” Chief Sage said.
One more wave of rain and storms are expected Wednesday through the evening hours. Locally heavy rains and flash flooding will continue to be threats for this area.