National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Extreme to Exceptional Drought leads to dry rivers across South Central Kansas

(these pictures were taken at the beginning to middle of August 2012 and were provided by the USGS and NWS)

Arkansas River coming into Wichita


This is the river/floodway control structure about 4 miles downstream from Maize. There is no flow through this structure. Usually the Arkansas River flows under I-235 at this point.

This is looking upstream of the control structure at the Arkansas River which is now a dry riverbed at this point.

This is looking on the other side of the control structure on the upstream side.

Along the Arkansas River


Near Nickerson, looking downstream on August 23rd. Flow here 20 cfs with a stage of 8.45 ft.

Near Haven, looking downstream on August 23rd. Flow here 22 cfs with a stage of 2.06 ft.

Looking downstream toward Exploration Place from the Seneca Bridge in Wichita. USGS estimated flow to be 5 cfs on August 23rd.


Looking upstream from the bridge at Big River Park and viewing where the river starts to flow at this point then becomes a dry riverbed toward I-235.

Water mark under the Big River Park Bridge denoting normal flow of river.

NWS Service Hydrologist standing in the Arkansas River near the floodway structure by I-235 on August 23, 2012.


Arkansas River near Maize


The Arkansas River near Maize looking downstream.

USGS making a low flow measurement of 0.45 cfs on the Arkansas River near Maize.

Looking upstream on the Arkansas River near Maize.

Additional Rivers


N. fork of the Ninnescah river looking east on hwy 17 on August 4, 2012

Looking downstream on the Ninnescah River near Peck on August 3, 2012. Flow at 3.23 cfs with a stage of 2.3 ft.

The Cowskin Creek in Wichita has dropped to zero flow at the segment of the creek just south of Kellogg Street. This picture was taken by the USGS on August 3rd 2012, when they measured 0.00 cfs for the day. Notice parts of the river bed have dried-up.