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More rain ahead as south-central Kansas braces for some flooding

VIDEO: Street flooding in Wichita

A strong current of water runs down South Bleckley after heavy rains hit Saturday.
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A strong current of water runs down South Bleckley after heavy rains hit Saturday.

For now, Wichita has received 2.65 inches more in moisture than what normally falls this time of year.

But be prepared for more.

The torrential rains on Saturday brought anywhere from 1.5 to 4 inches of rain to south-central Kansas, and the next few days could see even more moisture.

“Rainfall begets more rainfall,” said Jim Caruso, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wichita. “We have gone into a wet pattern that looks like it could stay wet for the next seven to 10 days.”

The heaviest rains on Saturday fell across a 50- to 60-mile swath in Harper, Kingman, Sedgwick, Harvey, Chase, Butler and Marion counties.

Runoff has caused some minor flooding, and flood warnings have been issued in Coffeyville, Wichita and the Kansas City metropolitan area, according to the Associated Press.

Some stretches of the Chikaskia, Marais Des Cygnes, Neosho and Cottonwood rivers are or soon will be overflowing their banks, causing minor to moderate flooding. Forecasters say some low-lying roads and farmland will be inundated.

In west Wichita, an area that typically has flooding issues is Cowskin Creek near 119th Street West. A flood warning has been issued to property owners in the area lasting until Monday evening. The floodwaters were expected to crest at 19 feet at 6 a.m. Monday, Caruso said. At 18 feet, water will back up into residential yards.

The Chikaskia near Corbin in Sumner County, the Cottonwood River near Florence and Cottonwood Falls were all experiencing a high volume of water, Caruso said. Other areas included the Little Arkansas River near Newton and Slate Creek at Wellington.

“It is not flooding yet, but we are expecting another weather system on Tuesday and Wednesday that could bring in widespread rain and thunderstorms and could cause additional spikes on the rivers in the basin,” he said.

The storms on Saturday brought 75 to 85 mph winds – strong enough to push 34 stopped rail cars off their tracks in Lyon County.

The National Weather Service said Sunday that the winds that hit Saturday night also damaged trees and outbuilding in the area. Additionally, an EF-1 tornado with peak wind speeds of 94 mph damaged a Lyon County farmstead.

In addition to rain coming midweek, more is expected over the Memorial Day weekend.

“This is hitting us for the third weekend in a row,” Caruso said. “The storms are coming every few days with locally heavy rainfall amounts, and if this pattern stays active, flooding will become a greater concern.”

The weather pattern could linger across Kansas well into June.

“June is our second-highest-precipitation month of the year,” he said.

Contributing: Associated Press

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

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