“It’s nothing that’s normal.” Unusual rainfall blamed for flooding

Last week’s flooding was the result of 20 inches of rain in three weeks’ time, according to the National Weather Service.


flood car.JPGThe impaled car was pulled out of Indian Creek at 103rd and Wornall Rd. Photo by Bill Rankin


Indian Creek reaches record flood levels, Blue River highest in 56 years

By Kathy Feist and Brad Lucht

   On Tuesday morning, August 22, south Kansas City was flooded again only three weeks after major flooding destroyed the area, particularly along Indian Creek near 103rd Street and Wornall. This time, however, flooding was experienced throughout Kansas City, including the Blue River which travels through Martin City.

  The July 27 flood involved one water rescue: that of two owners trapped inside Coach’s Bar & Grill, 103rd & Wornall. The August 22 flood involved many across the metropolitan area, including a family trapped on top of the roof of their home at 155th & Kenneth (near State Line).

  A woman was rescued from a tree at 101st & Wornall after her car drifted into the waters. Another man was trapped in Minor Park surrounded by encroaching waters. Overwhelmed, emergency crews simply waited for the waters to recede before rescuing victims of the flood.  

  This area of south Kansas City received around 7 to 8 inches of rain in 30 hours. Since the July 27 flood, Kansas City has received 19 to 20 inches of rain. The average for this time of year is 6 to 7 inches of rain a month.

“We’ve received a whole summer’s worth of rain in a three week stretch,” says meteorologist Jared Leighton, who works at the U.S. National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, MO.

  As a result, Indian Creek crested at a record high level of 28.22 feet. Its previous record was 27.96 feet, reached July 27. The Blue River was recorded at 40.39 feet near Blue Ridge Blvd and Holmes. That is the second highest level for the Blue River in the area. The highest was recorded in 1961 at 44.5 feet high.

   Leighton attributes the flooding to tropical moisture from the south. “The first flood was due to moisture from a tropical system in the eastern Pacific,” he says. “This recent storm grabbed some tropical moisture from a hurricane down in the Pacific Ocean.”

   He says this rare pattern of tropical moisture to the area is what is creating the extreme amounts of rain and high levels of flooding. “It’s nothing that’s normal.”

  Businesses along 103rd Street that have been flooded a second time in less than a month have had it.

Flood animal hospital.jpg
State Line Animal Hospital cleaned up for the second time in three weeks. 

   “This is getting old,” said Cindy Pugh, Practice Manager at State Line Animal Hospital, 104th & State Line in Leawood, KS. The practice had been owned by Dr. Vern Otte for 45 years. In all that time it never flooded.

“This has been a financial hardship, an emotional hardship,” Pugh said.  “It’s overwhelming, almost more than we can bear.”

“We’re strongly looking to relocate,” Pugh continued.  “Too many people with animals depend on us.”

Another animal clinic, Winding River Pet Village, also sustained damage. The nearby Blue River wiped out wood fences and knocked down a Noah’s Ark boat in the petting zoo.

Blue River crested over its banks at Winding River Animal Village and destroyed the petting zoo on the grounds. 

Christopher Walker, whose mother owns the grooming and kennel service there, says they started moving the dogs to higher ground at 4 a.m. “The river was starting to come up to the kennels,” he recalls. “We got all animals out before it got bad.”

   He says the doggie day care and veterinarian facility remained dry.

   The UPS store, which had just moved from the demolished shopping strip at 103rd & Wornall, lost a couple of computers due to flooding at their new temporary location at Watts Mill, 103rd & State Line.

  By the end of the day, the sun was shining bright, the waters had receded and most shops were back in business.


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