PITTSBURG — Pittsburg and the surrounding area have seen severe weather in recent days, with tornado sirens going off on Tuesday and more rain and thunderstorms predicted for the next two weeks.
“Heavy rains have caused isolated flooding on many city streets,” the City of Pittsburg posted to its Facebook page on Tuesday. “While much of that flooding is now receded, we know there is more rain to come later on this evening. Residents with basements should check their sump pumps to prevent flooding. We remain under the flash flood warning. Please drive slowly and use extra caution. Avoid travel when possible. Stay safe everyone!”
Earlier in the day the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Watch for Bourbon, Cherokee and Crawford Counties, which lasted until 11 p.m.
“Pittsburg is no longer under a tornado watch,” the city posted to its Facebook page Tuesday evening. “While the severe threat has diminished, a flash flood watch remains in effect.”
On Wednesday morning a flood warning remained in effect for Crawford, Cherokee and Bourbon counties, as well as Jasper, Barton and Vernon counties in Missouri, according to the NWS.
“The Department of Transportation continues to report flooding across the warned area,” the NWS noted in its Wednesday weather alert. “Several creeks and streams are flooded with numerous low water crossings flooded and closed. Creeks, streams, and low water crossings will be especially susceptible to the dangers of flooding.”
Pittsburg saw 4.25 inches of precipitation on Tuesday and through Wednesday morning, causing some flooding, according to Cory Rothstein, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri. Major streets were largely unaffected but many side streets had “a lot of standing water” Rothstein said. The NWS is “just trying to play catch-up with getting reports, so we might not have all the information on damage yet,” he said.
Rothstein said there was some wind and thunderstorm damage reported in Frontenac, including downed power poles, which were also reported in other parts of eastern Crawford County.
Downed power poles in Frontenac were “mostly due to tree limbs falling on them,” according to Crawford County Emergency Manager Jason Vanbecelaere, who also said there was a road closure on McKay Street west of Highway 69 as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, although he did not know of any other road closures in the county as a result of Tuesday’s storm.
No tornadoes appear to have hit Southeast Kansas, although some have been reported in nearby areas.
“Until we do surveys we don’t confirm any damage as tornado damage,” Rothstein said. Although no tornado survey teams are looking into potential tornado damage Crawford County or Southeast Kansas, two teams are conducting surveys to confirm tornado damage in Southwest Missouri. The NWS has confirmed one EF-0 tornado with 85 mile-per-hour winds that occurred on Tuesday in Pleasant Ridge, Missorui, southeast of Joplin, Rothstein said.
“National Weather Service meteorologist Kelsey Angle says tornadoes were reported Tuesday afternoon near Wheaton, Rocky Comfort, Miller and Stella in southwest Missouri,” the Associated Press reported Tuesday. “Angle says preliminary reports indicate some outbuildings were damaged.”
An additional EF-0 tornado was reported to have caused some damage to a church and a cemetery in the town of Paola, Kansas, southwest of Kansas City, according to the AP.
In Miami, Oklahoma, which received more 5.5 inches of rain between Tuesday and early Wednesday, a small tornado was additionally reported.
“Judging by the debris, it looks like we had a small tornado,” said Miami Police Chief and Emergency Management Director Thomas Anderson, according to the Miami News-Record.
“There was a lot of tree damage, a lot of power line damage,” Anderson said. “We had a few trees hit houses, but no injuries and no significant structural damage other than a couple houses being hit by trees.”
Power outages were affecting about half of Miami for part of Tuesday, although power had been restored to most of the city by 8 p.m. A large area of the northwest part of the city remained without power, however, as of Wednesday morning.
“Severe thunderstorms spawned numerous tornadoes across northern Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, downing trees and utility lines and damaging roofs,” the AP reported Tuesday. “No injuries have been reported.”