The flash floods that hit the Pittsburg area on Monday and Tuesday caused many people to think about transportation. But Pittsburg Public Works Director Bill Beasley quipped that the rising waters needed to stop, not for automobiles, but for another form of transportation.

The flash floods that hit the Pittsburg area on Monday and Tuesday caused many people to think about transportation. But Pittsburg Public Works Director Bill Beasley quipped that the rising waters needed to stop, not for automobiles, but for another form of transportation.

“I hope it stops raining so everyone can put their boats away,” Beasley said.

According to the National Weather Service in Springfield, Mo., the flash floods dumped 3.59 inches of rain in a 24-hour period on Pittsburg, and another 1-3 inches of rain were expected overnight. In the same time period, Girard received 3.27 inches of rain.

In fact, the area has been in some form of a flash flood warning or watch since Monday. That determination is made by a formula created by the NWS.

“The flash flood guidance takes into consideration the moisture in the soil, slope and the soil type are incorporate into mathematical equations to guesstimate how much water the groun can handle before flooding occurs,” said Megan Terry, NWS meteorologist.

Several roads were closed or blocked off Tuesday because of high water. By Tuesday afternoon, the most prominent road closure was 240th Street (Free King Highway) between 540th and 530th Avenues (Quincy Street and Centennial Drive, respectively).

Crawford County Sheriff Sandy Horton said that several areas in the county are prone to flooding, including Main Street — which goes northward from Kansas Highway 126 to 20th Street — areas southeast of Via Christi Hospital, and low-water bridge areas throughout the county.

“There are just certain areas that are common to flood when there are heavy rains,” Horton said. “We have deputies checking these areas. People in those areas are aware of rising water, and we’ll call them and remind them to be vigilant. We don’t want to have to go in there and take them out in a boat if we don’t have to.”

There was one flooding-related issue in Pittsburg proper, however. A storm sewer near the intersection of Homer and Quincy streets clogged up with leaves and other debris, causing the road to be closed for a time and waters to rise around nearby homes.
City crews unclogged the drain, so to speak, and the water began to clear out.

“We want to stress to people to take their lawn clippings and dispose of them other than to put them in ditches and gutters,” Beasley said. “That’s what causes these stoppages. It’s harder to open them up whem you’ve got a headwall of water behind them.”

Sheriff Horton said that a few accidents have occurred from people sliding into ditches filled with water. Those folks have had to wait to be pulled from the ditches with a tow truck.

Horton warned drivers to avoid driving into deep water, especially if the predicted one to three inches of rain hit the area overnight.

Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 140.