Already-soggy Kansas expecting more rain, flooding

Rising waters under the Cottonwood River in Emporia, on May 21, 2019 (WIBW/Shawn Wheat)
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PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Much of Kansas remains under flood warnings or watches as heavy rains cause streams and rivers to rise.

The National Weather Service says more than 3.5 inches (8.9 centimeters) of rain fell onto already-saturated ground Monday and early Tuesday in parts of Kansas, with more expected.

In Lyon Co., the Emergency Management department is working with the Kansas Dept. of Transportation and checking road conditions continuously.

KDOT has already closed K-99 from I-35 to K 170, north of Emporia, because of Dow Creek flooding. Late Tuesday, they closed the highway south of town all of the way to Olpe.

They are hoping that there won't be as many road closures this time as there were two weeks ago.

“We has significant closures last time just because the amount of rainfall we had for that time. This time I think you’re going to see some road closures. Some of them will be short lived, and some of those may be longer just due to the erosion of the roadway,” Lyon Co. Emergency Manager Jarred Fell said.

Fell says his agency predicts the Cottonwood River will crest sometime Wednesday above 25 feet, which is above the Moderate flood stage.

While they don't expect to see as much flooding as they did last time, the same warnings do apply: Don't drive around barricades and don't go into high waters because you don't know how fast the water is going under the surface.

The central Kansas town of New Cambria has asked residents to voluntarily evacuate because of the potential for record flooding along Smoky Hill River. Officials say a creek near Salina also may flood at record levels.

Pittsburg officials say an apparent tornado touched down south of the city Monday afternoon, damaging outbuildings and toppling power lines and trees. Roof damage was also reported to Grubbs Hall at Pittsburg State University. No injuries were reported.

In McPherson, residents have been asked to conserve water. The treatment plant there is processing water at less than half the normal capacity because of heavy rains and equipment failures.