Tim Horan

The definition of a 100-year-flood is an event that has a 1 in 100 chance, or 1 percent, of happening each year.

The fact that we had a 100-year-flood only 25 years ago does not change the odds of having another one.

Vegas casinos, as well as those in other states like Kansas, have become wealthy playing the odds game.

If I flip a quarter and it comes up heads five straight times, what are the odds of it coming up heads on the sixth flip?

Fifty-fifty, of course.

That is not to be confused with the odds of the quarter coming up heads six straight times.

Currently, the county is under a flood watch. Wednesday morning on my way into the office, it looked like the banks of the Smoky Hill River were breached.

In 1951 my folks were living on Pine Street in Abilene. Mud Creek water reached downtown Abilene that year.

The water was so high the furniture in the Pine Street house was placed on cans of food to keep it dry.

There are pictures at the Dickinson County Historical Society of people boating down Broadway.

The Reflector-Chronicle reported that its press, located in the basement of the building located in what is now Little Ike Park, had flooded in 4-1/2 feet of water.

The newspaper reported it was the first time in history the basement had flooded.

The press had to be dismantled and cleaned before it could be used. The newspaper also lost $1,500 worth of paper. Fortunately, some paper hadn’t been unloaded into the basement yet.

That flood is one of the reasons the Corps of Engineers built the levees to keep the muddy waters of Mud Creek and the Smoky Hill River out of town.

Those levees were breached in 1993 when the Smoky Hill River flowed into the city limits, closing down south Buckeye Avenue.

My dad John was an avid coffee drinker and he didn’t let a little flood stop him from his morning brew.

He drove all the way to Salina to get to his friends at the coffee shop in Abilene that year as Kansas highways 43 and 15 and Solomon Road (the roads that had bridges over the Smoky Hill River) were closed due to high water.

Then flood water from the Smoky Hill River reached Old Highway 40 west of town.

My wife Kathy’s parents lived on Jefferson Street where they had a furnished basement with newly carpeted floors.

When the water table started rising, Joe first used a shopvac to suck up the liquid that was seeping up through cracks in the cement floors. Everyone helped move furniture into the garage while he slaved away at trying to keep the carpet dry.

Someone finally brought in a pump but even that didn’t keep up with the water seeping in.

Finally, a very disgusted Joe grabbed a box cutter and started cutting up the newly laid carpet.

As we hauled it away, the water finally stopped climbing the walls at the six inch mark.

Doreen, ever the optimist, said, “At least it’s CLEAN water.”

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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