Friday, July 1, 2011

High Water

I have written several times that Keith works for the Department of Emergency Management for the State of Kansas, and he has been involved lately with many things to do with the flooding along the Missouri river in our state.  Though his counties of responsibility are right around us, including our own, he was asked to help out with some towns further north, in Doniphan county. 

The little town of Elwood was flooded terribly in 1993, and by the grace of God, has not been flooded yet.  Her citizens have banded together to stop the sand boils that keep happening, and there is a National Guard contingent there who is ready at any time of day to provide brains and muscle, and an Incident Management Team that is assisting the town fathers in their emergency planning.  As Keith says, the National Guardsmen and women are all combat veterans, and very, very able.  The governor and two state senators staffs visited Elwood today to assess the situation again. 

Keith also saw them in Atchison, where my own dad went to college.  My sister and I often went to Daddy's alma mater, St. Benedicts (now Benedictine) because he was very active in alumni matters, and he often took us along.  In those days, the monks still farmed part of the grounds with workhorses, and the second I was unloaded, I took off for the barn.  Daddy would collect me when it was time to go, and some kindly monk had usually put me up on the broad back of a resting workhorse so I could pretend I was riding.  That must have been where it started. 

Here is a view of Atchison today, this afternoon, taken by Keith:

Here is the railroad bridge.  As you can see, the flood waters are about two feet below the railbed.
Up on the bluff where you can see the white building is the house in which Amelia Earhart grew up.  Keith was standing on the Amelia Earhart bridge (which goes over to Missouri) to take this.
Farther on north on the river bank you can see a tiny building, tiny in the distance.  This is Atchison's pumping station surrounded by water.  Benedictine is farther on north on the bluff.

This is looking south near the pumping station.  On the left is the Missouri River, and on the right a foundry that employs 700 people in Atchison.  One hundred of these folks live on the Missouri side of the river, and if the Earhart bridge closes because of flooding on the Missouri side, which is lower, they will have to go to Kansas City and back up to get to work, over 100 miles one way. 
This is looking towards the railroad bridge, which is a swinging bridge that won't be swinging for a while.

This is the main BNSF rail line going south, taken in Leavenworth, and as you see, the river is about to get it.  Further south on the track, between Lansing and Kansas City, Kansas, the track has collapsed, so there is no traffic here right now, on what is a very busy (normally) track. This is the track that Oscar ran down the bluff towards, that day so many years ago now, that scared me half to death!

Here is the Coast Guard station at the river landing in Leavenworth.  This is normally a boat ramp, and to the left, where the truck is, is a road to a camping area which is about to be inundated. 

Here is 2nd street in Leavenworth. Keith and I used to live on this street, about three blocks back north of this, in a historic district.  Just past the trailers on the right is the Leavenworth County Animal Shelter, currently under water.  The Animal Control people decided last month to move the whole kit and kaboodle to a former Wal Mart store about two miles away, on high ground. Keith and I regularly used to see deer on this street at night, as there is a bluff on the left that is pretty wild.

One of the two water intake stations at Leavenworth, at the Coast Guard Station. This station pumps 4 million gallons a day, there is another that pumps five.  This one is going down fast, it will stop pumping when the water gets too high.  That's the main river channel beyond it. 

Tonight, some folks went to the wild area across from us, and lit off many fireworks.  We had the dogs safely inside, and sat on the porch to watch the display.  I'm glad it was them, and not us... we enjoyed watching, but we no longer do it here.  Too hard on us and the animals.  

When I went to pick Ranger up at the vet this afternoon, it was 104 on the thermometer in my car. 

On Monday, Keith has asked me to drive up to Doniphan county to look at some of the flooding with him.  He loves the terrain up there, and the farms, but he also wants to show me some of what's going on.  We'll take lots of pictures.  That's just the kind of way I like to spend a day off, too... on a leisurely drive with a wonderful husband.  


  1. That is my favorite day too,a drive with my HUbby! I tell him I am like a dog,lol he says car trip and I am ready to go! The flooding is terrible.This had been a hard year for a lot of folks.We are in severe drought here and constantly afraid of fire.

  2. Stay safe and thank your husband for helping. Hubby was in that job position for years.

    Now, if we could magically figure how to transport this water to the states that are burning...every one would be happy.


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