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After 'enormous amount of rain,' rising reservoirs still feet away from flooding

Kansas River
Posted at 5:03 PM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 12:41:39-04

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. — Officials are on the lookout for rising water as rain continues to fall in the Kansas City metro area.

Flash flooding blocked several roads in the region on Tuesday, but officials are not predicting major flooding in the next couple of days.

"We're monitoring the entire watershed, we've had an enormous amount of rain that's come into the area," said Dawn Buehler, Kansas Riverkeeper.

As the Kansas Riverkeeper, Buehler's job is to protect the river, which is why she continues to watch it closely.

"We're a ways from flood stage right now, but we'll have to see how the rest of that rain plays out," Buehler said.

The Kansas River has four main reservoirs, including Tuttle Creek Lake near Manhattan, Kansas. Before the flood of 1993, the water was near the top of its floodgates.

"They are still about 12 feet away from where they were in '93, and they still have plenty of storage," Buehler said.

Areas across the metro are hoping for a break from the wet weather. Johnson County Emergency Management is watching the rain but keeping its main focus on other flood-prone areas.

"Right now we're just kind of watching those rainfall totals and seeing how high they get, and we're also keeping an eye on some of the local creeks and rivers," said Trent Pittman, assistant director of community preparedness for Johnson County Emergency Management.

Indian Creek, Tomahawk Creek and the Blue River all flooded in 2017. Pittman said in a short amount of time, the Johnson County area received 10 inches of rain.

Pittman is optimistic flood-prone areas will crest before reaching minor flood stage, but with more rain in the forecast, officials across the metro are keeping a close eye on water levels.

The Army Corps of Engineers is hosting a public meeting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Manhattan Fire Station Headquarters at 2000 Denison Ave. Officials plan to provide information regarding the Tuttle Creek water level. Currently, the lake is still 12 feet away from a level where the emergency spillway gates would have to be opened as they were in 1993.