The rain has stopped but the challenges have not for already saturated areas hit hard by downpours Monday across areas of Kansas.
The Harvey County Sheriff’s Office was pleading with motorists via Facebook to stay home from work after several commuters had to be rescued from vehicles that became stranded in floodwaters Tuesday morning.
“When beginning your commute, ask yourself, ‘Is it worth it?’ If it isn’t, please stay home and off the roads!” a statement on the agency’s Facebook page reads.
Nearly 7 inches of rain fell in Chanute in southeast Kansas on Monday, while more than 5 inches was reported in Lindsborg in McPherson County. Flash flooding prompted the evacuation of eight square blocks in Lindsborg, where the rain fell at the rate of 4 inches an hour for a while on Monday.
Torrential rains were reported elsewhere, including Newton.
“I’ve been out in some pretty rough stuff,” McPherson County Emergency Management Agency Dillard Webster said. “That came down as hard as I’ve ever seen. You absolutely could not even see the side of the road. That was a blinding downpour.”
Moundridge was also hit by street flooding from heavy rains, Webster said. Several residents were dealing with flooded basements and sandbags were deployed to protect six houses from the Black Kettle Creek that runs through town.
“We do have a pretty good volume of damage” across the county, Webster said.
Floodwaters closed the Kansas Turnpike for more than an hour between El Dorado and Emporia on Monday night. Waters covered the turnpike between Mile Marker 99 and Mile Marker 105, authorities said, and then debris had to be cleared from the roadway once the waters had receded.
That’s south of Jacob Creek, the site of a flash flood on the turnpike in 2003 that killed six people 10 years ago next month.
Jabara Airport reported 1.38 inches of rain in northeast Wichita Monday, but just .02 fell in the western side of the city.
“We could see some pop-up showers in southeast Kansas this afternoon, but it looks like for the most part we’ll be dry for the next couple of days,” National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Smith said. “That will help things out.”
But Webster said he’ll be keeping an eye on the Smoky Hill River, which could create a fresh round of headaches for McPherson County as runoff swells the river.
“We may have to contend with that before it’s all said and done,” Webster said.
And more rain is expected in the region late this week.
McPherson County Emergency Management Agency Dillard Webster