Flash flood warning issued for Wichita area in wake of heavy rains

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning until 9:30 a.m. for Sedgwick County in the wake of heavy rain over the past few hours in the metropolitan area.

Numerous reports of vehicles stalling in street flooding have occurred during the morning commute, according to a Sedgwick County 911 supervisor.

“There’s a bunch of them,” the supervisor said. “They’re everywhere.”

West Wichita seemed particularly hard hit, with stalled vehicles reported at Harry and Meridian, the 3100 block of West 13th, the 1800 block of South Meridian and the intersection of 13th and Meridian. No injuries have been reported.

More than two inches of rain fell in west Wichita in about a two-hour span, said Jerilyn Billings, a meteorologist with the weather service. More than two inches was also reported in northeast Wichita near Jabara Airport.

Offcially, 1.43 inches had fallen at the recording station near Mid-Continent Airport since midnight, Billings said.

Rain should taper off later in the morning, but severe weather remains a threat for the Wichita area as well as eastern Kansas later today. Strong thunderstorms packing baseball-sized hail and winds of more than 70 miles an hour are possible, Billings said. A long-track tornado or two can’t be ruled out south of a line from Hutchinson to Cottonwood Falls.

“It’ll be interesting to see how this impacts today’s chances later,” Billings said of the morning thunderstorms. “What’s happening now does play a factor in it.

“It depends on how the atmosphere recovers.”

The Storm Prediction Center has posted a 10 percent chance of tornadoes from the Flint Hills east of the Kansas Turnpike south to near the Oklahoma-Texas border. The western edge of that zone skirts the border of Sedgwick and Butler counties. Wichita is included in a 5 percent zone for tornadoes.