Water piles up as intense storm sweeps through area
Torrential rains and small hail pounded the Saline County area Sunday afternoon, June 23, creating flash flooding conditions that turned some roads into ponds and some lawns into rivers.
The heaviest rain fell in Marshall between about 2 and 3 p.m. At 2:42 p.m. the National Weather Service issued a small stream flooding advisory for Saline County.
The rain intensity varied widely over the area.
KMMO radio reported receiving 1.53 inches of rain at its studio on North U.S. Highway 65, but residents on the east side of town reported receiving about 4 inches.
Marshall Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Stubblefield said 3.5 inches of rain fell at Indian Foothills Park.
A small creek -- referred to by locals as Sand Creek -- that runs past Seminole Shelter on its way to Salt Fork Creek was more like a raging river for a time.
"We had some water yesterday," Stubblefield said. "I can't remember the last time we got that much rain out here."
One motorist was assisted by Marshall police when her car stalled in rising water on Route WW just east of Lincoln Avenue.
According to a Marshall Fire Department report, the woman was able to exit her car as water started coming inside. A Marshall police officer assisted the occupant of the vehicle out of the flooded area.
MFD also responded to the scene after MPD assisted but cleared the scene after the occupant "said she was alright," according to the MFD report.
Marshall firefighters responded to three other lightning-related incidents due to the storm Sunday.
At approximately 5 p.m. Sunday, firefighters responded to a thermostat smoking due to a possible lightning strike in the 1200 block of Ravenal Avenue. Upon arrival on the scene, firefighters found a high voltage on the thermostat. They removed the thermostat and disconnected the home's heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit.
At approximately 7:45 p.m. firefighters responded to a tree branch touching a power line and smoking in the 500 block of North Birchwood Circle. Once firefighters arrived at the scene, a branch was touching a primary power line and had burnt a secondary powerline. Firefighters stood by while Marshall Municipal Utilities crew turned power off from the primary line, cleared tree limbs and replaced a secondary line.
Then at 1 a.m. Monday, firefighters responded to stove alarm in the 1100 block of Ravenal Avenue.
According to the MFD report, the stove controls may have been struck by lightening and disabled the controls of the stove. Firefighters unplugged the stove and advised the occupant to contact the landlord and check other electronic appliances.
"They were all minor incidents, luckily," said MFD Fire Chief Tony Day.
MMU Electrical Distribution Director Jeff Bergstrom said there were a few other storm-related incidents, but no major problems.
"We had some primary fuses blown at several locations," he said, "a bad pull-mount transformer we're assuming was hit by lightning and then we have a tree limb down on some lines. I don't think we had anybody out more than a couple hours."
He said power was on for everyone by 8 p.m. Sunday evening.
Sheriff Wally George said there were no major incidents in the county that required dispatching deputies.
"We had some water and some flooding out on the county roads, but that was all," George said.
There were also several reports of water over the roadway making streets impassable for a time on South Odell Avenue near Drake Road and at South Benton Avenue and North Lake Drive.
A police dispatcher also advised officers that a number of reports came in of manhole covers dislocated by rising water.
Local law enforcement officials said there were no reports of serious damage due to the storm.
One Marshall woman said lightning struck a tree outside her home on North Lake Drive while she was on the phone.
"It was scary," said Dee Castle. "I could feel tingling in my hand."
Monday morning, Castle was still picking up small pieces from her tree that had flown around her house. The tree was still standing, but had several scars on its trunk marking the path where the lightening struck.
"Immediately after I heard it I went outside to check and make sure nothing was catching on fire," Castle said. "Luckily, it wasn't."