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Rains spare roads, pare campers

News editor

Jesse Hamm’s phone was mostly silent Tuesday, a good sign after two days of rain.

“It wasn’t as bad as expected,” Hamm, the county road and bridge superintendent, said. “The western part of the county, Hillsboro, Goessel, and part of the south part of the county, were the worst hit.”

Weather stations attested to Hamm’s claim, registering 5.1 inches at Marion, 4.6 at Hillsboro, 4.1 at Goessel, and 2.3 at Durham.

The Cottonwood River rose a foot above flood stage Sunday at Florence, enough to generate gawkers at a bridge but not enough to threaten property.

Emergency management director Randy Frank said the county weathered the storms well and it was unlikely there would be reason to apply for federal assistance.

“We were very fortunate,” he said. “I’ve been told that none of our infrastructure or roads were damaged to that point.”

It was a far cry from last summer, when rain fouled roads at harvest and 300 people jammed the hall at Marion County Park and Lake to vent their displeasure.

“Timing is a big issue; unfortunately we can’t control Mother Nature,” Hamm said.

What Hamm has controlled is how section grader operators are used. Regular maintenance is a priority, he said, and operators are used sparingly for other projects.

Graders immediately went to work Tuesday on gravel roads, and hot, dry weather in the forecast should allow work to begin quickly on dirt roads, he said.

“The main key is trying to get our blade men out on the road as soon as possible,” Hamm said. “There’s no time to wait. People need it to get to and from their homes, to and from work, and farmers need it for their livelihood.”

Rain dampened turnout of campers at Marion Reservoir, where those who braved the weather this weekend spent much of their time inside recreational vehicles.

“We didn’t have nearly as many walk-ins coming in,” Cottonwood Point campground host Debbie Shane said.

A blue-green algae warning caused some campers to cancel reservations, and many who arrived Friday pulled up stakes early because of the weather.

A heat advisory replaced thunderstorm and flood warnings Tuesday, with daytime highs expected to be in the 90s through the end of next week.

Last modified July 7, 2016

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