When Steve and Jennifer Laudie bought their Mosby, Mo., raised-ranch home about a year ago, they were told that the area flooded only once every 10 years or so — and even then only a foot or two of water would get near their basement.
So when a neighbor called them about 1 a.m. Sunday to say the Fishing River was rising because heavy rains, they weren’t too concerned.
“We decided to pull stuff from the basement up to the main floor,” Steve Laudie said. “It kept rising and rising.”
A few hours later, rescuers helped the Laudie family and other Mosby residents escape after floodwaters swamped the Clay County town of about 190 people as storms swept across the region, bringing heavy rain and churning up at least five tornadoes.
“At approximately 7 a.m., waters from the Fishing River rose significantly, and the decision was made to start evacuating, voluntarily, residents of Mosby,” said Lt. Will Akin, a spokesman for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, which was assisting the town of Mosby and its police department.
About half to two-thirds of the residents decided to evacuate, Akin said. The rest remained with their homes. By about 1 p.m., all of the residents who wanted to leave who needed assistance had been evacuated. The floodwaters were quickly receding and were near 28 feet after the river crested at more than 30 feet.
About 35 houses had water inside them, Akin said. No injuries were reported during the flooding and the evacuations.
Laudie said his family needed help getting out because floodwaters had nearly submerged their two vehicles. His lawnmower was bobbing in the water. Except for the flooded basement, the house was OK.
“It’s like a lake out there,” he said. The sight of the floodwaters entertained his children, who watched some of the spectacle from the family’s deck.
“Honestly, we had family calling us and trying to get ahold of us,” he said. “When we finally answered, they were more worried than we were. Everything was OK.”
Seth Laudie was one of the family members who called. He wanted to see whether his cousin needed help getting out.
“A neighbor of mine has a flat-bottom boat with a motor on it, so we got that and brought it over here,” Laudie said.
The motor wasn’t powerful enough to get through the floodwaters. Although everyone was fine, it was a little frustrating not being able to help.
“You wish you could be in there helping them,” he said. “You are just sitting out here waiting. There’s not much you can do.”
National Weather Service meteorologist Pamela Murray said rainfall in western Missouri ranged from half an inch to 6 inches late Saturday and early Sunday. Stretches of the Missouri, Grand and Platte rivers were among those in flood stage. The flooding was mostly minor.
Flash flooding was reported in low-lying parts of the Kansas City area, and more rain is in the forecast for midweek and the weekend.
In Kansas, the storms were strong enough to push rail cars off the tracks in Lyon County, and flooding was reported after southern, east-central and northeast Kansas received from 1 to 4 inches of rain. National Weather Service meteorologist Jenifer Bowen said higher rainfall amounts were recorded in a few localized areas.
Flash flooding was reported in Coffeyville and Wichita. Forecasters said some low-lying roads and farmland would be inundated.
A tornado touched down Saturday in the area of Sibley and Orrick, Mo., east of Kansas City, wrapping a mobile home around a tree and destroying a barn. Nobody was in the home. National Weather Service crews on Sunday found the tracks of at least four twisters in Missouri and one in Kansas.
Harry Carter, who lives in Mosby with his wife, Coleen, said this is the second flood he’s witnessed in eight years.
“People lose a lot of stuff down here,” he said.
Akin said there is always a lesson to be learned from this kind of flooding.
“The one thing that remains the same is, don’t try to drive through floodwaters,” he said. “If you do see waters rising inside your house, get out as quickly as possible, especially in this area. You don’t know how high the water is going to get. So the earlier you take precautions, the better and the more safe the residents are and the first responders who are out there trying to help them.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to email@example.com.
24-hour rainfall amounts
From 7 a.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday
▪ KCI: 1.96 inches
▪ Downtown airport: 3.10
▪ Johnson County airport: 2.01
▪ Olathe: 2.26
▪ Lee`s Summit: 2.46