On Thursday, as the runoff from the fields got stronger and spilled into the swollen Plaza Larga Creek, a small waterfall rushed along Quay Road AF. (Freedom Newspapers: Chellie Delaney)
By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun
Just when you thought there was a drought, it rains six inches and starts flooding.
Wednesday night’s steady showers, broke into a heavier rainfall Thursday morning and set off flooding in some fields, washouts on several roads and in one area 14 Rural Area Development customers were without any drinking water.
In some places, “It was just rolling over the fields,” said Larry Moore, road supervisor for the Quay County Road Department.
One of the first calls Moore got early Thursday morning was from a homeowner seeking assistance because the new lake in his front yard was six inches from his garage door and ready to come over the last step to his front door, said Moore.
At this house in the community of Lesbia, “The water was running over the roadway and into his yard because it couldn’t get through the ditches,” Moore said. “We unplugged it, got it going it and the ditches started emptying,” Moore said.
Moore also said the rain washed down some of the red dirt from the earthen embankments along I-40 and onto Frontage Road in some areas
“But we haven’t seen anything too drastic,” he said.
Most of the action was on Quay Road AF where several sections of the road were flooded over, fences had been pushed down by the force of the runoff and telephone poles, used as landscape timbers, had been moved several feet by the rush of the water.
Elmer Schuster who lives in the area said his gauges indicated that it had rained six inches.
At a remote telephone site on Quay Road AF, Jerald Reed, an outside plant technician for ENMR Plateau, said, “I was trying to check the equipment,” but the water surrounding the equipment was two-feet deep and still draining.
Pointing to an Arch Hurley irrigation canal near the phone equipment, Reed said, “Earlier, you couldn’t even tell there was a canal there.”
Farther down Quay Road AF, the swiftness of the water draining off the surrounding lands and onto the rocks beside the road created a small, but respectful waterfall. “You’d think it was the Colorado River,” said Shane Jennings, RAD board member, with a wry smile.
But Jennings and Bill Walt, RAD manager, were concerned the about 14 residences that had no water and were trying to determine if the force of the runoff had been the cause of a broken-off section of the PVC water main. Walt said the water would have to subside before it could be fixed and and the water turned back on to residences.
Meanwhile, the nearby Plaza Larga Creek – which had little or no water between its banks a little more than a week ago – had swelled to about 150-feet wide and to a depth of at least four feet, Walt estimated.
At about 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jennings and Moore agreed the water was beginning to run faster and becoming wider as they watched.
Moore said the road was impassable at the creek but that residents could take the Norton road to get to and from homes.
South of I-40, on Quay Road AG, there was about a one-quarter-of-a-mile stretch of road that would need repairs and road materials to put it back in shape, Moore said. And on Quay Road 64, the rushing water pushed a barbed-wire steel fence, with a few cedar trees attached, across the road and and knocked down its twin. And by late afternoon, the water was still washing over the road, making it impassable.
Although a good portion of Margaret Collins front yard on Quay Road AF was under water, she didn’t seem disturbed.
“We’ve been dry for so long,” she said. “I just wish it would start raining like this at the ranch.”
Moore said, “We need the water, but it also needs to dry out a little. The weeds will really start growing now.”