KC area storms knock out power, roads

The Kansas City area saw just spotty power outages and scattered road closings from the deluge that soaked the region Friday night and this morning.

Elsewhere the storm hit harder, leaving motorists in Wichita stranded in water as rains pounded south-central Kansas.

On the Kansas Turnpike, motorists found themselves hydroplaning regularly this morning and ending up in a rash of wrecks. Yet authorities were reporting no critical injuries early this morning.

Flooding in Kansas City looked to be minimal, and streams seemed to be receding even in the wake of continued rain in the morning.

North of the Missouri River, problems also seemed to abate slightly Saturday morning. Still water swelled over some roads and side streets. In Platte County, Missouri 45 was closed by water at Farley and Z Highway was shut down just west of Edgerton. Kansas 16 was closed by water at the Leavenworth-Jefferson county line. Kansas 5 was closed near Nine-Mile Creek by the Leavenworth water plant.

Harper and Marion counties in Kansas experienced heavy rainfall and flooding that required officials to barricade roads.

The rains contributed to one accident on 190th Road between Marion and Hillsboro in Wichita when a vehicle hydroplaned, slid off the road and was subsequently rear-ended by another vehicle. No one was injured, according to Marion County Sheriff Lee Becker.

In Newton, rescuers had to pull a motorist out of a vehicle that became stranded in high water Friday morning at Second Street and Manchester, according to a Harvey County dispatcher. Kansas 15, south of Newton, and a handful of county roads were barricaded because of water on the roadways.

According to Matt Gerard, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service in Dodge City, the rains formed as moisture from Tropical Storm Lowell in the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Mexico, came up through northwest Oklahoma and into Kansas to combine with a cold front that stretched from Hays to Garden City to Elkhart.

“This kind of atmosphere is very efficient for producing rain,” Gerard said. There was no hail and little lightning associated with the storm.

The first reports of flooding came in from Ellis and Russell counties, with a storm spotter reporting 4 inches of rain from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday night near Victoria.

Russell County Sheriff John Fletcher said there had been 5.3 inches of rain just south of Waldo in the north part of the county. A handful of county roads were still closed Friday evening, Fletcher said, but reports of washed-out bridges were inaccurate.

Harper, Barber and Kingman counties received heavy rains overnight, as well, with 4.69 inches falling near Kiowa in Barber County in a matter of hours and flooding in the Harper County towns of Anthony and Harper.

U.S. 160 had a foot of water on it early Friday morning and was closed, as were K-44 and K-179, but all those highways were reopened later in the day.

Roads near Norwich in southeast Kingman County were closed due to high waters, as well.

Hutchinson and Reno County escaped any ill effects of the storm, with Reno County getting about 1.9 inches in a 12-hour period. Other parts of western Kansas reported minor amounts of rain throughout the day, with Dodge City reporting .17 inches in a six-hour period.

For now, the projected record corn harvest isn't affected by the wet weather. Reno County extension agent Kent McKinnis said the bulk of the corn harvest hasn't started yet, nor has winter wheat planting. Right now, the wet weather is keeping farmers out of the field, but harvest doesn't usually start until mid-September.

“I wouldn't look for any yield losses,” he said.