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22 Aug, 2017 16:33

'Historic' flash floods in Kansas City leave people stranded

'Historic' flash floods in Kansas City leave people stranded

Flash flooding caused by three rounds of heavy rain storms drenched Kansas City, Missouri overnight, leading to numerous water rescues and residents trapped on their roofs.

Parts of the Kansas City metro area picked up over 9in (22 cms) of rain, breaking a record, as three rounds of heavy rain pounded the area throughout Monday and into early Tuesday morning.

There were more than 130 weather-related calls to the police and fire departments of Kansas City overnight and into Tuesday morning due to the flash floods.

Images show water pouring in and around half-submerged houses, car roofs just visible above the water line, roads flooded or washed out, and road signs surrealistically indicting ‘speed limits’ or ‘stop’ in the middle of streams.

Radar estimates and Weather Underground rainfall reports indicated a broad swath of 3 to 7in (17 cms) of rain had fallen across the Kansas City metro area.

A stretch of Interstate 35 southbound near downtown Kansas City was reported to have 2 to 3ft (1/2 meter to 3/4 meter) of water covering the road Monday night, according to KCTV.

The flood chased some residents onto the roofs of their homes, as local news footage showed Tuesday morning.

The Overland Fire Department said a family of seven - four children, three adults and their pets - were trapped on their roof but crews were in contact with them.

"They are safe and calm," OFD spokesperson Jason Rhodes said. "Because they are not in eminent danger and the water levels around them are receding, crews will allow those water levels to drop to safer levels before evacuating the family."

The OFD said it received 16 calls of drivers finding themselves stalled in high waters.
In a residential area in Mission, a huge sinkhole appeared, 20 yards wide (18 meters) and 60 yards (54 meters) long, with public work officials believing it might be flood-related. Homeowners are being evacuated.

Rescue crews were working to get nearly 40 workers trapped inside businesses in Swope Park Industrial area to dry land. The people had arrived at work early but later became trapped as flood waters rose quickly.

An apartment complex threatened by the sudden rise of the Blue River was evacuated. The river is expected to top early Tuesday.

The three storms caused Indian Creek, in the south of the city, which is already prone to flooding, to rise to 17ft (5 meters) in just five hours, swamping the area.

Along Indian Creek, a woman was rescued from a tree after floodwater washed her car away.

"She was able to extract herself from the car but as she did, the car actually flipped over on its side and pinned her against the tree and she was able to climb up the tree as the car moved," Kansas City Fire Department Dep. Chief Jeff Johnson told local news outlet WDAF.

The waters are scheduled to crest at noontime on Tuesday.