Water piles up as intense storm sweeps through area

Sunday, June 23, 2013 ~ Updated 9:02 PM
A Marshall police officer Luke Vance escorts a driver to safety after her car stalled in rising water that was pooling in a curve on Route WW just east of Lincoln Avenue in Marshall Sunday, June 23. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)

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.

A number of impromptu rivers sprang into existence Sunday, June 23, when a storm dumped 3 or more inches of water on parts of Marshall, exceeding the area's drainage capability. This stream ran through a yard on Cedar Street. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)

"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."

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  • Yikes.

    -- Posted by Maggie Menderski on Sun, Jun 23, 2013, at 4:12 PM
  • Friends say they recorded more than 3 inches at their farm just northeast of Marshall - and it's still raining.

    -- Posted by former editor on Sun, Jun 23, 2013, at 4:30 PM
  • I live just north of Marshall and it hailed big time at my house. Some of the hardest pounding I've ever listened to. The green leaves were also whipped off my trees & are laying all over the place now. Rain was wicked too.

    -- Posted by sirwalter on Sun, Jun 23, 2013, at 5:11 PM
  • Now, that is the power of mother nature.

    -- Posted by ieatsuperglue on Sun, Jun 23, 2013, at 5:50 PM
  • We had a total of 4 inches over here on the east side of town, with very little hail but a lot of wind.

    -- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Mon, Jun 24, 2013, at 11:24 AM
  • Sadly, the picture above is the home of a single mother who was unaware of this flooding problem when the home was purchased. The neighbor behind her, which is the Saline County Sheriff Wally George, has a pond that has a drain through his wooden privacy fence that drains directly onto this property. The city manager has been notified countless times without results. The excessive water problem caused by the neighbor's pond is a health hazard due to stagnant water, which breeds mosquito infestation. Due to this issue one neighbor has moved. There are guidelines in the city limits as to how large a water garden can be and how property should be drained properly.

    -- Posted by etc555 on Mon, Jun 24, 2013, at 1:24 PM
  • Did I understand correctly - Sheriff George is intentionally and knowingly dumping water overrun from his property via a drain that runs from his pond directly onto his neighbors property? Does the City have any recourse or are they just unwilling to enforce it for this specific individual? This just does not pass the smell test. VERY interested to hear what the City has to say about that, perhaps this could be a good story for the press to follow up on. I am sure that many homeowners would be interested.

    -- Posted by pitbull on Mon, Jun 24, 2013, at 3:22 PM
    Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
    I checked with Wally George and with city code official Mike Morgan. The water comes from north of the George's property, so the source is not the pond. Morgan said there is a natural waterway through George's property to Cedar Street. He said the pond actually acts as a retention basin, slowing the flow somewhat. If the pond was not there, the water would still flow through and at a high rate during intense storms. Morgan said a mechanism in place to redirect the water is not particularly effective and could be improved, but he said no city storm water codes are being violated by the current arrangement.
  • Had 3 inches in my rain gauge in a 2 hour period. I noticed in the article a referral to an "unnamed creek". I had always heard it called "Sand Creek" as it flows through Sand Hollow. There is always a flow in the park because just west of Park St. there is a spring that continuously feeds the creek. The spring is in the general location of where the original city water works. A private company. West of Park St. the creek is usually dry except when it rains it can become a raging torrent.

    -- Posted by izaak on Mon, Jun 24, 2013, at 8:23 PM
    Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
    Apparently it doesn't have an "official" name, but I stand corrected. It definitely has a name. Thanks!
  • Thank you for the follow-up Eric.

    -- Posted by pitbull on Wed, Jun 26, 2013, at 2:48 PM
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