Storm totals: 8 rescues, 2 house fires, nearly 2 inches of rain

One measure of how dry it has been in the Wichita area is that – even after the storm that prompted more than a half-dozen rescues from vehicles stranded in flooded streets – the city is still more than 9 inches below normal precipitation for the year.

The same storm set two houses on fire Monday, though a fire official said damage in both cases was not substantial.

The storm brought almost everything but ice and snow to Wichita over two days: waves of heavy rain on Monday, pea-sized hail in Maize and northwest Wichita, and then a light wind-blown mist for the rest of the metro area that turned today into something more commonly associated with the British Isles.

That mist added up to little more than 0.10 of an inch Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The cumulative rainfall total from the storm had topped 1.80 inches by late Tuesday afternoon. That reduced the rainfall deficit for 2011 from more than 11 inches to less than 91/2 inches.

“We cut it down a little bit,” said Jim Caruso, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita.

Snow flurries were reported in northwest and central Kansas, but Caruso said it didn’t get cold enough in the Wichita area for the precipitation to fall as snow.

The two house fires reported Monday occurred within minutes of each other, fire Capt. Stuart Bevis said.

The first, at 2327 S. Millwood, began after tree limbs were knocked down onto power lines. The house’s electric meter was damaged by the line being jarred, Bevis said, and a fire broke out in the wall around the incoming power line.

The second fire was at 1913 S. Milstead, southeast of Kellogg and 119th Street West, when lightning struck guttering on the house. Damage was minor, Bevis said.

While firefighters had to rescue eight people from flooded cars in or near Wichita, no injuries were reported, authorities said.

As welcome as the rains were for the area, Caruso said, they do not signal a change in the generally dry weather pattern. Rain is not in the forecast for the next week.

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