Manhattan residents evacuated after heavy rains flood town
Areas around Manhattan and Pratt in Kansas are flooding on Monday, prompting some evacuations.
About 300 people were evacuated following nearly 9 inches of rain overnight that created flash flooding along Wildcat Creek, said Ron Fehr, Manhattan’s city manager, at a media briefing Monday afternoon.
“It was one of the most significant events that we’ve experienced in my history here,” Fehr said.
About 20 people who were evacuated were transported by boat, said Pat Collins, Riley County Emergency Management director.
Officials said there were a few minor injuries from the flooding — including a firefighter who was bitten by a cat — that were treated at the scene. They also said both homes and businesses were affected by the flooding, especially those that back up to the creek.
An emergency evacuation shelter has been set up at Pottorf Hall, 1710 Avery in Manhattan, and a second shelter was being set up at Bramlage Coliseum on the Kansas State University campus.
The National Weather Service in Topeka on Monday afternoon issued a flash flood watch until Tuesday afternoon for Manhattan and points north and west, forecasting more than 2 inches of additional rainfall.
Manhattan is 130 miles north of Wichita.
In the Pratt area, about 79 miles west of Wichita, rainfall amounts ranged from 6 to 8 1/2 inches between 7 a.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday, said Greg Tatro, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dodge City.
“Most of that rain fell from roughly yesterday evening to this morning,” Tatro said on Monday.
Officials in Pratt on Monday were encouraging people to stay away from the south side of the city and Pratt County Lake, southeast of the city.
“PLEASE DO NOT DRIVE AROUND TRYING TO SEE THE FLOOD,” Pratt County Emergency Management posted on its Facebook page Monday morning. “FIRST RESPONDERS ARE CURRENTLY EVACUATING PEOPLE AND HAVING TO DEAL WITH TRAFFIC TRYING TO SEE WHAT IS GOING ON.”
Emergency managers said a temporary shelter has been set up at the Pratt Community Center, 619 N. Main.
Tatro said Pratt and the surrounding area could see more rainfall throughout the week, mainly from intermittent, pop-up storms.
“We have a little bit of persistent weather pattern where we’re expecting more rain to affect areas around Pratt,” he said.