Archive for Thursday, July 22, 1993


July 22, 1993


Heavy rains flooded basements, backed up sewer lines and buckled streets in Lawrence, but they didn't increase problems with the Kansas River, city and county officials said this morning.

The KU Weather Service reported 3.39 inches of rain during the 24-hour period ending at 7 a.m., and the river in Lawrence rose 2.6 feet since noon Wednesday, officials said.

"Considering what's been going on around us, we are sitting pretty well," said Paula Phillips, Douglas County Emergency Preparedness coordinator. "We're just hoping our luck holds out, and there's no reason to think that it won't."

North Lawrence is safe, Phillips said, because the river remains more than 8 feet below the levee's 29.5 "topping stage" in Lawrence.

"The river probably won't go above 22 feet, so North Lawrence is in no danger of flooding from the river," she said.

The storms are causing other problems, however.

The south edge of the river has flooded Burcham and Constant parks, which are not protected by levees, said Rod Bremby, assistant city manager.

At the Lawrence Riverfront Plaza and Factory Outlets, even a layer of sandbags wasn't enough to halt to tide by 11 a.m.

Barbara Wood, owner of The Sugarosity Shop, a candy store on the east end of the center's first floor, said that so far, a sealed stairwell has contained the water.

"We have water rolling over the sand bags at this point," she said, walking toward the stairwell with her mobile phone.

"Monday we had a stream of water lapping around, but this is really rolling," she said.

Residents in East Lawrence, especially those who live near the railroad tracks at East 15th Street, collected free sandbags from Lawrence fire stations to help keep away water rising from swollen drainage ditches and creeks, Phillips said. Such problems are expected to continue as rain persists.

No city or county residents were advised to evacuate their homes this morning, Phillips said, although several low-lying areas again received high water.

The Lawrence Fire Department used a truck to pump water from a trailer court at First and Lincoln streets, Bremby said. The area suffered drainage problems related to complications at the 7-week-old hole in North Second.

Residents of the Weaver Bottom area near Eudora, where the Wakarusa drains into the Kaw, were unable to return to their homes because of high water, Phillips said.

Residents of the Lake View subdivision, which borders the river 1.5 miles northwest of Lawrence, had water within a few feet of their homes, she said. Washington Creek neared its banks at Lone Star Lake, 9 miles southwest of town.

City crews continued monitoring the Kansas River levee each hour, and have found no signs of weakness, Phillips said.

City streets are beginning to suffer under the successive rains, Bremby said.

In the Oread Neighborhood, a hole has opened across Ohio Street, just south of 10th Street. A motorist last night either did not see or disregarded warning signs in the area and drove her car into the hole, but she was not injured.

Eastbound traffic on 11th Street must avoid a 150-square-foot section of 2-year-old pavement washed away in the intersection at Tennessee Street, he said.

In other news:

-- The city's water department received about two dozen calls overnight from people complaining of flooded streets and basements, and backed-up sanitary sewers, Bremby said.

-- City officials again asked people visiting the river to park on the south side and walk across the Kansas River bridge, to ease traffic snarls around the still-open hole at Locust Street.

-- Douglas County residents with disaster-related damage can apply for part of a $10,000 gift from the United Way of Douglas County, said Jo Byers, director of the county's chapter of the American Red Cross. The money is available immediately, she said, and applications may be picked up at the Red Cross, 2120 W. 25th; Ballard Community Center, 708 Elm; Penn House, 1035 Pa.; Lawrence Indian Center, 1423 Haskell; and Salvation Army, 946 N.H.

-- Damage-assessment officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are expected in Lawrence next week, having been held over in the Manhattan area, Bremby said.

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