Harvey County preparing for additional flooding


HARVEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Harvey County Emergency Management is continuing planning and coordination with other local governments in the county as flooding concerns are expected to continue through the weekend.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Harvey County until Saturday at 7 a.m., as well as a flood warning until Saturday at 10:45 a.m. River flooding is expected to continue, impacting travel and community access.

First responders have completed three water rescues from vehicles, one water rescue for a pedestrian and one water rescue from a residence in the county this week. No injuries have been reported. “It’s imperative that people take this seriously.

You cannot go through barricaded roads. End of discussion,” said Harvey County Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Meier. “When you do, you become either a liability or a statistic. We want you to choose safety.”

Fire and EMS departments in the county are using their modified response plan, a previously prepared strategy to maintain emergency coverage during flood conditions. If the original department has trouble reaching a location due to flooding, other jurisdictions are able to assist, though response times may be affected.

Floodwaters remain a potential health risk. “We would encourage everyone to stay away from floodwaters,” said Harvey County Health Department

Director Lynnette Redington. “That water won’t be clean, and there may be debris in it you can’t see.” Harvey County Parks closed West Park and East Park to all visitors through Monday due to flooding.

Harvey County Commission Chairman Chip Westfall signed a local emergency disaster proclamation Wednesday to help the County request additional local and state resources if needed. Residents in Harvey County are encouraged to create a plan as localized flooding and road closures remain an issue.

“We want you to think forward and consider how flooding may impact you in the coming days, and continue to have ways to get updates on the weather,” said Emergency Management Director Gary Denny.

Harvey County will host a media briefing Friday at 10:30 a.m. in the Emergency Operations Center of the Law Enforcement Center, 120 East Seventh Street in Newton. The briefing will discuss weather conditions, river impacts and community and county preparations for continued flooding.

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