Smoky Hill River

Water in the Smoky Hill River was outside its banks Thursday morning south of Abilene and at “action state” elsewhere in Dickinson County.

With rain in the forecast Thursday night, Friday and over the weekend, local officials are concerned about the potential for flooding, especially in the Enterprise and Solomon areas.

Since Wednesday, Oct. 3, the Abilene area has received nearly six inches of rain with totals varying greatly across the county. But rains west and northwest of Dickinson County can cause river and stream flooding here.

“On Monday, Solomon came over and got some sandbags from us. We keep a pretty good bulk of them at the landfill,” Dickinson County Administrator Brad Homman told county commissioners Wednesday. “They have sand on the ground in case they need it to start bagging.”

Dickinson County Emergency Management Director Chancy Smith also contacted the state and picked up a pallet of sandbags — about 8,500 additional ones — to have on hand as a precaution,” Homman said.

“When you do need those things it never happens at an opportune time and when you need them you don’t have time to go looking for them,” he added.

Some flooding

A flood warning was in effect for Chapman Creek near Chapman until Thursday, according to the National Weather Service website.

“That creek is in minor flood stage,” said Meteorologist Sarah Teefey with the Topeka National Weather Service office Wednesday afternoon. “We’re forecasting it to remain in minor flood stage until early Thursday morning and then drop below flood stage.”

Chapman creek was at 20.6 feet Wednesday, while flood stage is 19 feet, according to the NWS website. At 19 feet lowland flooding occurs from near the town of Industry upstream from Chapman to the Smoky Hill River downstream from Chapman.

The Smoky Hill River at Sand Springs was below flood stage at noon Wednesday and Teefey said the NWS did not expect it to reach flood stage of 27 ft.

The Smoky Hill River at Enterprise was in “action stage” a little after noon on Wednesday and was forecast to reach minor flood stage for a brief time, Teefey said.

“Minor flood stage is 26 ft. We are forecasting it to reach just over 26 ft. Friday morning for a brief time,” Teefey said. “It should go below flood stage by the next morning.”

While there’s a chance of rain Thursday night and Friday and again Saturday night and Sunday, nothing appears to be “overly heavy at this time,” Teefey said.

“So that’s probably another ¼ inch of rain, probably less than ½-inch on Friday. For the weekend, we’ll see some spotty showers,” she said.

Winter temps coming?

Dickinson County has not yet seen its first frost; however, some areas may have experienced patchy frost overnight.

“We’re looking at the possibility of a freeze Sunday night into Monday morning,” Teefey said. “It could get down to 32 degrees or potentially even lower in some spots Sunday night. But right now we’re not forecasting any wintery participation.”

The temperature change may seem sudden — especially compared to last week’s high in the upper 80s — but fall is a time of change.

“That’s the interesting thing about fall. We’ve got that cold air now building to the north and still have plenty of warm air to the south. You can have a really strong system and get a really warm day and the next day it’s cold enough to get frost or a freeze,” Teefey said. “The weather can be all over the place, especially in this part of the country.”

Contact Kathy Hageman at

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