Franklin County and City of Ottawa public works departments are keeping a close eye on the Marais des Cygnes River and roads throughout the city and county.
Franklin County is under a flood warning through early Thursday morning. The river was at the 22-foot stage early Monday morning, which is nine feet below flood stage. The National Weather Service predicted the Marais des Cygnes River would crest at about 29 feet Wednesday afternoon in Ottawa.
“A lot of it depends on the amount of rain we get Monday and Tuesday,” Alan Radcliffe, Franklin County Emergency Management director, said. “Most of our heavy rains has been west and south of us. It if moves east, it could effect the river too.”
The City of Ottawa water department reported the city received 5.9 inches of rain from 7 a.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Monday. More rain is in the forecast through Wednesday morning.
Radcliffe said there is potential for flash flooding in the county, especially since the ground is saturated. He said both public works departments will on high alert if more rain should fall.
“Make sure you use caution,” Radcliffe said. “If you see signs, heed the warnings. Don’t drive into the water. Turn around and don’t drown.”
Michael Haeffele, City of Ottawa public works director, said street crews have been monitoring the Marais des Cygnes River at the Main Street bridge since 3:30 a.m. Monday.
“The big thing for us is making sure we don’t get any log jams,” he said. “We want to make sure they don’t get piled up against the bridge. The more debris that gets piled up there is more stress on [the bridge]. We are in the monitor mode.”
Haeffele said the water can rise quickly. He said between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. the river was rising about a foot an hour at the bridge.
“That is pretty quick,” he said. “It has seemed to slow down quite a bit [Monday afternoon].”
Haeffele said with the crest predicted at 29 feet, the city should not have to close the Main Street flood gates.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t get more rain to make us do that,” he said.
Haeffele and Radcliffe said as of Monday afternoon no roads in the city or county have been closed because of high water.
“Everything is open and passable,” Haeffele said. “If we got more rain [Monday or Tuesday], I anticipate we might have to close some roads. Those probably will be on the East side of town. If water is going over the road, don’t drive through it. That is the safest thing. We don’t want to get anybody hurt.”
Haeffele said crews have been monitoring street drains throughout the city.
“We have crews out looking at our trouble spots making sure nothing is happening,” he said. “The guys are making sure the curb inlets and area drains are not getting plugged up.”
Counties to the East and South of Ottawa have not been as lucky. Miami County reported two water rescues Monday morning. High water over the roads in Anderson County forced schools to be closed Monday.
The Marais des Cygnes River near Quenemo was reportedly above flood stage Monday morning at 17.7 feet. Flood stage is 17 feet. The National Weather Service predicted the river would rise to 23.1 feet Monday afternoon and fall below flood stage Monday night. It was expected a secondary crest at nearly 18 feet would occur early Wednesday morning.