Flooding spreads across Kansas and Missouri, rains to continue Wednesday

Flooding affected communities around the Kansas City region Tuesday after waves of thunderstorms dumped heavy, sometimes torrential, rains overnight.

And more flood danger remains with more rain expected, according to the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill.

Emergency management officials reported flooding in numerous locations after 3 to 4 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. Some areas have seen heavier amounts.

Up to an inch of additional rain was expected to fall in the Kansas City area by 1 a.m. Wednesday, according to an updated forecast by the weather service.

Periods of moderate rainfall are expected to continue through Wednesday evening. Severe thunderstorms are also possible in central Missouri, with damaging winds, hail and a few isolated tornadoes possible. One tornado was reported in southwest Missouri.

Because of the heavy rains, the weather service issued a flood warning for most of the Kansas City metro area Tuesday.

Some of the cities expected to be affected by the flooding included Overland Park, Olathe, Shawnee, Lenexa, Leawood, Prairie Village, Bonner Springs, Edwardsville, Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, Independence, Libery, Smithville, North Kansas City and Parkville.

The flooding closed streets and highways around the Kansas City region.

Heavy rains fall across the Kansas City area Tuesday. Neil Nakahodo

Flooding has caused problems across Missouri. The Missouri Department of Transportation was reporting on its traveler map 276 highway and road closures across the state because of flooding.

In Jackson County, U.S. 24 was closed at Harris Avenue and Vassar Street. In Clay County, U.S. 69 highway was closed at Route 33. In Cass County, Missouri 58 was closed between Front Street and Missouri 7 and between Walnut Street and Hilltop Road.

A tornado was spotted about 2:48 p.m. Tuesday near Marshfield in southwest Missouri, according to the National Weather Service office in Springfield. The tornado was seen on the ground, the weather service said.

Later Tuesday, the weather service reported tornadoes were spotted in Kansas, in Jackson and Atchison counties.

The heavy rains caused flooding on area streams, creeks and rivers.

At 11:30 a.m., Indian Creek in Kansas City reached 20 feet at State Line Road, which is considered flood stage. It was expected to crest at 20.6 feet before falling below flood stage later in the afternoon.

Minor flooding was expected as water begins to cover a portion of Lee Boulevard south Interstate 435.

Flood waters from Fishing River threatened Mosby, Missouri, which is northeast of Kansas City. Moderate flooding was expected as the river climbed above the flood stage of 18 feet.

The river reached 25 feet early Tuesday and water levels receded throughout the morning to 23.23 feet about noon, said Gene Walker, fire chief of the Fishing River Fire Protection District, which serves Mosby.

“This storm is a little different from the ones that we have had in the past,” he said. “Usually when we get between 20 and 25 foot out of Fishing River, we have roads closed in Mosby and downtown Mosby.”

No roads were closed this time but several roads had between three to four inches of water.

The National Weather Service is predicting the water level at Fishing River is not going to drop before the next round of storms are come through.

“We might have issues overnight and tomorrow because everything is so saturated,” Walker said. “We’re checking roads and water levels. We’re just kind of waiting to see what Mother Nature throws at us next.”

On the Kansas side, Stranger Creek at Easton was experiencing moderate flooding. The creek was expected to rise to near 20.6 feet by early Wednesday before dipping below flood stage in the afternoon. At 20 feet, all roads out of Easton, except for Kansas 192 highway west of 231st Street in Easton are closed, according to the weather service.

Robert A. Cronkleton and Neil Nakahodo The Kansas City Star

Stranger Creek was also expected to cause minor flooding near Tonganoxie. The creek was expected to crest at about 24.9 feet Wednesday morning and dip below 23 feet, which is flood stage, by late Thursday morning.

In Kansas City, Kansas, the Kansas River was expected to rise to near 35.2 feet by Wednesday morning. Flood stage is 33 feet. Minor flooding was expected.

Meanwhile, there was minor flooding along the Missouri River at Atchison, Leavenworth, Parkville and Sibley. While the river was expected to fall below flood stage by Friday morning at Leavenworth and Parkville, and Sunday morning at Atchison, the Missouri is expected to remain above flood stage at Sibley for the remainder of the month.

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Glenn E. Rice covers crime, courts and breaking news for The Kansas City Star, where he’s worked since 1988. Rice is a Kansas City native and a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.
Robert A. Cronkleton gets up very early in the morning to bring readers breaking news about crime, transportation and weather at the crack of dawn. He’s been at The Star since 1987 and now contributes data reporting and video editing.