Rain fell over Kansas City Tuesday and was expected to continue across the area Wednesday as the National Weather Service warned of flooding along the Missouri River.
Moderate to heavy rainfall was expected to continue off and on through Wednesday evening. By the time the storms leave, rainfall totals will average between 1 and 1.5 inches of rain for most areas, according to the weather service.
As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, a little more than .30 of an inch of rain had fallen at Kansas City International Airport.
Because of the rain and melting snow upstream, widespread river flooding was expected.
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The weather service has issued flood warnings for several cities along the Missouri River, including St. Joseph, Atchison, Leavenworth, Sibley, Napoleon, Waverly and Miami, Mo. The flooding hazard was expected to continue later this week.
In the Kansas City area, a flood warning has been issued for the Missouri River at Leavenworth beginning Thursday morning. While the river level was at 10.2 feet Tuesday morning, the river was expected to rise above flood stage of 20 feet late Thursday morning and continue to rise to near 25.7 feet by Saturday morning, according to the weather service.
The weather service also warned of strong winds of 20 to 30 mph Wednesday, with gusts reaching 40 to 50 mph. The strongest winds are expected to arrive about 9 a.m. and last until about 7 p.m. Gusts of 30 to 40 mph will likely continue into the night.
The winds may make travel difficult for drivers on east and west roads, especially in high profile vehicles and those pulling trailers. The strong winds also might cause small tree branches to break and the uprooting of some trees because of the saturated ground, according to the National Weather Service.
On the Missouri River, water levels will drop slightly for a couple days and then crest again at 27 feet early next week.
At 25.1 feet, water tops the levee north of Fort Leavenworth. At 23.4 feet, Hildebrandt Island north of Fort Leavenworth begins to flood and families in that area need to evacuate.
Riverfront Park in Leavenworth begins to flood at 22.3 feet. Second Street at the waste water treatment plant is closed due to high water.
In Kansas City, the Missouri River near downtown is expected to crest early next week at 29.7 feet, which is below the flood stage of 32 feet.
Flood warnings have also been issued for the following areas:
▪ The Missouri River at St. Joseph is expected to rise above flood stage of 17 feet by Wednesday afternoon and continue to rise to 26.7 feet by Friday afternoon. The river will drop slightly for a couple days before a second crest of 27.9 feet is expected by Tuesday.
At 24 feet, a residential area northwest of St. Joseph begins to flood. Riverfront Park in St. Joseph begins to flood at 21 feet. At 19 feet, backwater from the river floods property along the Nodaway River at Nodaway, Mo. Lowland flooding both upstream and downstream from St. Joseph occurs at 17 feet.
▪ The Missouri River at Atchison, Kan., is expected to rise above flood stage Thursday morning and continue to rise to near 28.7 feet by Friday evening. There will be a second crest of 29.9 feet on Tuesday morning.
At 30 feet, the levee on the Missouri side of the river about four miles upstream of Atchison is overtopped. At 27 feet, River Road in Atchison floods and levees on the Missouri side of the river are overtopped. If the river remains above 27 feet for several days, then U.S. 59 and large portions of the floodplain on the Missouri side flood.
▪ The Missouri River at Sibley, Mo., is expected to crest at 27.8 feet early Wednesday. Flood stage is 22 feet, at which time low-lying rural areas along the river and outside of levee protection flood. The warning is in effect Thursday afternoon.
▪ The Missouri River at Napoleon, Mo., is expected to rise above flood stage Thursday morning and continue to rise to near 23.6 feet by Saturday evening. A second crest of 24 feet is expected Wednesday. Flood stage is 17 feet, at which point low-lying areas unprotected by the levees begin to flood.
▪ The Missouri River at Waverly, Mo., is expected to rise above flood stage of 20 feet Thursday afternoon and continue to rise to 26 feet by Sunday morning. A second crest of 26.2 feet is expected by mid-week next week.
At 23.5 feet, rural areas along the river not protected by levees flood.