'We're at our max': Harvey County officials prepare for 'catastrophic' flooding

HARVEY COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) Storm Team 12 Chief Meteorologist Ross Janssen has issued a 3-day Weather Alert as we head into the Memorial Day weekend. He says heavy rains, hail and flooding will continue to be the main concern.

Friday morning, the Harvey County Emergency Management warned that its rivers, lakes and creeks could not hold any more water.

"We're at our max, we're at capacity," said Emergency Director Gary Denny. He compared recent flooding to which he says started May 8 to the floods of 2007 in southeast Kansas.

Ken Cook, the director of the National Weather Service in Wichita said Harvey County 10-15 inches of rain has already fallen in Harvey County. He said with the threat of more rain on the way, the major concern is that there's nowhere for the water to go.

"Any amount of rainfall in a short amount of time is going to be a problem for us," he said.

Currently, the forecast for Harvey County includes 2-4 inches of rain through Sunday. Denney said residents should have a plan in place should "catastrophic flooding" occur.

"Anticipate your plan. What should you do if the county sees record water levels," said Denny.

He said potential consequences of more water could be backed up sewer systems and contaminated water supply.

The county is preparing should the worst happen by anticipating water rescues and evacuations, identifying shelters for impacted areas and keeping the public informed with accurate and timely information.

Denny said emergency crews are on a heightened level of service, but emergency transportation is very limited. Drivers who come to flooded roads should avoid them whether or not if they have a barricade.

Residents that may have to evacuate are asked to prepare for the worst before it arrives.