River rising, but no cause for excitement yet

The Little Arkansas River was almost covering the dam as of Wednesday afternoon and hadn't crested yet.

By Jared Janzen

HALSTEAD—The Little Arkansas River is on the rise thanks to steady rains for much of Monday and Tuesday this week.

Halstead EMS Director Anderson Lowe said he and Division Chief Doug Hoffman had been monitoring the river level but didn’t think it was a concern yet, as of Wednesday afternoon.

“We’ll look at the river service one on occasion and check the water level,” Lowe said. “We’re keeping an eye on it, but we haven’t got excited yet.”

Lowe said the latest reading from the National Weather Service gauge on Highway 50 showed the river to be 18.42 feet deep early Wednesday afternoon, with the river not having yet crested. The fire/EMS department has not yet started measuring the river from the Main Street bridge.

For context, during the high-water events of May 2019, the National Weather Service measured the river level to be as high as 25.79 feet at Highway 50. Measurements from the Main Street bridge showed the river cresting at 21.3 feet at that location.

As for when the river may crest this time around, Lowe said that would depend on how much rain the area gets on Wednesday night. If waters do continue to rise and flood roadways, he reminded folks not to drive through moving water.

“It only takes 6-8 inches of moving water to lift your vehicle tires off the road,” he said. “If it’s real swift moving, it’ll sweep it right off.”

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