Kansas City’s summer storms threw a third heavy punch in three weeks — a wicked combination that has floored many homeowners like Ben Reed.
His Prairie Village home took roof damage from a fallen silver maple tree in the wind and rain July 22, hung on with the help of tarps in the flooding rains July 27, but succumbed when the heavens dumped another six inches or so Saturday night.
“We can’t get the new roof on fast enough,” Reed said Sunday. “Ten inches of rain in three weeks — hopefully we’re done with it.”
Heavy rains have been common this year, making it seem like when it rains, it pours — buckets and buckets.
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Since March, there have been nine days where rainfall totals have been greater than 1 inch at Kansas City International Airport. It’s happened on 10 days at Johnson County Executive Airport.
In those six months, if you combine each month’s heaviest day of rainfall, those six days account for nearly half of precipitation for the year.
“That’s typically how rain comes, especially in the summer time,” said Jared Leighton, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, Mo.
“It comes in batches of high amounts. It’s pretty rare to get rainfall in many small batches.”
Between 2 and 5 inches of rain fell across the Kansas City metro area overnight into Sunday. Merriam saw 6.23 inches of rain, one of a few places that recorded more than 6 inches.
That just adds to what has already been a wet year for Kansas City.
So far this year, 29.85 inches of rain has fallen at KCI. That’s 5.74 inches above the normal rainfall of 24.11 inches for this time of year. Last year was even wetter — 30.44 inches of rain was reported by this time last year.
Flooding closed several roads and recreation areas in Jackson County over the weekend, including Longview Lake Beach.
Workers from Sage Restoration Sunday were cleaning up from the damage where the wet ceiling had fallen in the Reeds’ bathroom during what has been “a crazy summer,” said Connor Lucas, Sage’s director of business development.
The heavy rains have exposed all the weaknesses in homeowners’ basements and roofs.
“Our techs worked 80 hours apiece last week,” Lucas said. “We finally had one day off (Saturday). We thought we’d have the whole weekend off.”
Instead, companies like his were calling in extra crews from management teams that dispatch workers and equipment from around the region as flooded basements and compromised roofs were spawning calls from homes and businesses throughout the area.
“We’ve had 300 calls,” Lucas said.
The torrential rains that caused flash flooding Saturday night in lower-lying areas across Kansas City stranded some drivers when fast-rising waters swamped their cars.
“A round of thunderstorms formed between St. Joseph and Kansas City and moved very slowly through the Kansas City metro,” said Leighton of the Weather Service. “Anytime these thunderstorms move so slowly, it can produce large rain totals.”
Just over a week ago, heavy rains flooded businesses along Indian Creek near 103rd Street and Wornall Road. Those storms followed the same path, much like train cars on a railroad track across the southern Kansas City area, dumping 5 to 7 inches. Some areas saw more than 8 inches.
Indian Creek and Brush Creek are very sensitive to where and how fast the heaviest rains fall, Leighton said.
“With these flashy creeks like Indian Creek, Brush Creek and Tomahawk Creek, and all these small creeks across the metro, you almost have to hit them dead-on in order to get the response we have seen in the past week or so,” he said.
The good news for Kansas City is that the area should see a few dry days before the threat of storms return — as soon as Wednesday but more likely on Friday and Saturday.
“It doesn’t look, at this point, like it’s going to be a repeat of the last couple heavy rain events,” Leighton said. “It’s still something to be looking out for as we go through the rest of this week.”
Simple, essential ways to help prevent wet basements
▪ Make sure all gutters are secured and clear of leaves and debris, and that the downspouts extend 10 feet from the foundation of the home.
▪ Landscaping around the house should slope downward from the foundation. Clay-type soil around the foundation, rather than sandy, will shed water more effectively.
▪ Have your sump pump serviced to be sure it is working efficiently. Or have a pump installed.