PITTSBURG — Instead of the Midwest’s typical sunny skies, the month of June has brought rain, flooding and cooler temperatures to Southeast Kansas.
According to National Weather Service Meteorologist Doug Cramer, strong westerly winds have led to cool and damp weather for Southeast Kansas and the Missouri Ozarks.
“It is a little bit of an unusual pattern for June,” Cramer said. “The summertime ridge of high pressure that typically comes every year has not established itself yet over the area.”
This past weekend, the area saw anywhere from two to seven inches of rain, while areas in western Crawford County along the Lightning Creek basin, including western Girard, probably saw over seven, Cramer says.
The National Weather Service currently has a flood warning in effect for Southeast Kansas.
Cramer said water from Lightning Creek in Cherokee County is draining into southwest Crawford County and northwest Cherokee County, putting some roads and fields under water.
According to Crawford County Emergency Management Director Jason VanBecelaere, all roads in Crawford County have recovered from the weekend’s heavy rainfall and are currently passable to his knowledge.
“We did have some light flooding; minor flooding that filled up really quick,” VanBecelaere said. “The torrential downpour that we had Saturday night through Sunday [caused it]. I did drive around this morning. Some of the creeks are up but they're not out of their banks, so it's really nothing out of the ordinary per-se.”
VanBecelaere said if more downpour comes, roads east and south of Via Christi Hospital as well as Quincy Street could be closed again.
Anyone who sees water across the roadway should report it to 911 or the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office immediately, VanBecelaere says. If drivers see barricades up, they should avoid running around them or knocking them over.
As long as there’s a 10-12 hour period with no rain, VanBecelaere says the creeks will drain.
“Cow Creek's the one closest to Pittsburg and that's the one where it affects most of the driving,” VanBecelaere said. “That's the one we kind of watch. I always warn people, if you see water across the roadway, turn around and don't drown.”
Cramer adds that drivers should be cautious particularly during the nighttime.
“A lot of our swiftwater rescues and flood fatalities typically happen, a lot of times, at night when people don't realize that the road is flooded and they drive into it,” Cramer said. “Anybody that's navigating roads during nighttime and unfamiliar areas, just be aware of the possibility of low spots that could be flooded.”
This past weekend is likely not the last time Kansas will see a downpour over the summer.
Cramer said the Climate Prediction Center, a branch of the National Weather Service, predicts cooler than normal weather through August.
“Through August, they've got chances of experiencing cooler than normal temperatures and wetter than normal precipitation,” Cramer said. “That doesn't mean that we won't see some dry spells or some really hot weather at some point, but overall, the way the signals in the atmosphere are kind of indicating that we'll see cooler and damper weather for the most part.”
The Weather Channel predicts warmer weather throughout Monday and Tuesday, but thunderstorms and rain again on Wednesday.