Flash floods prompt evacuations on both sides of Missouri-Kansas state line
9:04 AM, May 31, 2013
6:56 PM, May 31, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Nearly 30 homes and about 20 businesses were evacuated because of flash flooding Friday morning near 103rd Street at the Missouri-Kansas state line.
Authorities asked several businesses near Indian Creek to evacuate because of flash flooding. The creek runs right through the area, and has seen considerable flooding after Friday morning's heavy rains.
Officials with the United States Geological Survey were on scene, and said the creek, which usually flows at about 30 cubic feet per second, was gushing at a furious pace of almost 14,000 cubic feet per second.
"It's like a freight train," said Cathy Pickens, the general manager at Coach's, a bar and restaurant whose parking lot saw a good deal of water. "That water goes so fast and it's just amazing how fast it moves."
USGS hydrologic technician Patrick Finnegan says Indian Creek crested at the state line at about 9:15 am.
Nearby, at Indian Creek at Indian Creek Parkway, the water was rushing at a more-modest, but still rushing 4,500 cubic feet per second.
At the state line, the creek was measured at about 16 feet. It's usually not much higher than ankle-height. Finnegan said he's never seen the water levels so high in Indian Creek.
Police and fire crews checked on 107 homes in the area and another about 60 businesses. Of those, 28 of the residences and about 20 of the businesses were evacuated.
Kansas City Fire Department Battalion Chief James Garrett says the creek is prone to flooding because so many other tributaries flow into it.
"Another hard rain somewhere up stream could cause it to go further over too," Garrett said, "so we are being as precautions as we can to get people out of harm's way."
Business owners grabbed as many computers, files and tables as they could before rushing out.
"I was loading the van because I have a wedding reception tonight," said Pickens, the GM at Coach's. "I already told the bride and groom everything's fine, we'll be there. She was panicked."
Businesses were reopening by a little before 12 p.m. Friday.
A few blocks away, the high water was nearing homes near 101st and Wornall, where many of the evacuations occurred. Residents were temporarily evacuated during the peak of the flooding, but most were returning to their homes by about 11 a.m.
Residents in that neighborhood said it wasn't the first time this has happened.
"They need to do something. I thought they were supposed to have fixed it," Leroy Brown said. "Because the first time it happened maybe two or three years ago, they were supposed to be making some improvements then. But it looks like it's not working."
The evacuations spread from Kansas City, Mo., across State Line Road and into Leawood, Kan.
Earlier in the morning, the heavy rains caused a mess for dozens, if not hundreds, of drivers who tried to navigate through high water in area roadways.
Several became stuck and/or stalled when they weren't able to get past a flooded road. You can watch exclusive video of a water rescue from early Friday by visiting:
Sarah Hollenbeck, Jenna Hanchard and Jamie Oberg contributed to this report.