HIAWATHA, Kan. — Emergency Management officials are monitoring a private dam near Sabetha for possible failure.
If the dam, located 1 mile south of Sabetha fails, then it could cause flash flooding along the Delaware River — impacting areas of Nemaha, Jackson and Southwestern Brown County.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the area until 10:30 p.m. Thursday on the Delaware River. The NWS reports the flooding would impact U.S. Highway 36, about 3 miles south of the dam and the Kickapoo Reservation, west of Horton, which includes the Golden Eagle Casino. The weather service said the water could rise to near 13.8 feet at U.S. 36 Highway just over an hour after a dam failure and to near 11.2 feet at U.S. Highway 75, up to 3 1/2 hours after a failure.
Sabetha City officials have said that a sink hole has developed below the watershed dam near the city’s wastewater plant and they are monitoring the situation.
Maps have been developed for significant and high hazard dams in Kansas that show the area that would be flooded if the dam were to fail. In this case, if the watershed dam south of Sabetha were to fail, the map indicates that agricultural lands would be flooded, as well as a couple of local roads (County Road 220 and County Road 250). Those roads have not been impacted at this time, but have been closed in a precautionary measure.
Mapping does not show water would extend over Highway 36 or out of the banks for more than a few miles downstream and does not indicate flooding in other areas with significant residential or commercial development. In the broader region, water has already cut off access to St. Joseph, Missouri, and Weston, Missouri, by flooding out portions of Missouri Highway 45 and U.S. Highway 59; Highway 36 via Kansas Highway 7 is the only route to St. Joseph.
As a reminder, do not drive through water on the roadway, or around any barricade on the roadway. “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”