More storms may add to 3-inch rainfall total in Lawrence; city shares debris cleanup details

photo by: Mike Yoder

The Kansas River rises over its banks to cover a walking path between Burcham and Constant Parks, Friday morning, May 27, 2016.

More than 3 inches of rain have fallen on the area since thunderstorms began rolling into Lawrence late Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Topeka.

Lawrence saw approximately 3.43 inches of rain between 7 a.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday, meteorologist Bryan Baerg said. And more is on the way.

“This afternoon we can expect probably at least a half inch, maybe pushing an inch,” he said. “It just depends on where the thunderstorms form.”

Thunderstorms are also expected to continue through the weekend, Baerg said.

Douglas County is under flash flood watch until 7 a.m. Saturday.

North of Lawrence, the Kansas River is just under a minor flood stage, Baerg said. Typically at a depth of 15 feet, the river is currently at about 17.75 feet deep. Walking paths near the river between Burcham and Constant parks were underwater Friday morning.

Likewise the Wakarusa River south of Lawrence is at a moderate flood stage, Baerg said. The river is generally about 18 feet deep, but the waters have risen to just over 25 feet deep.

“And if we continue to get more and more precipitation that may change,” Baerg said. “And obviously rain further to the north will flow down to this area.”

Power outages persist

Thursday’s severe storms resulted in widespread tree damage, power outages and flooded roadways in the Lawrence area. Wind gusts reached 67 miles per hour at Lawrence Municipal Airport at 4:54 p.m. Thursday, according to the weather service.

At one point Thursday evening, more than 1500 Westar Energy customers were without electricity in Lawrence, according to the company’s website. As of 10 a.m. Friday morning, about 250 customers in Lawrence were still without power. Westar warned it could be noon Friday before some outages were resolved.

Tree damage widespread

Large tree limbs were seen littering sidewalks and some roadways throughout Lawrence Friday morning. In some cases, entire trees had fallen over.

To alert the City of Lawrence to trees blocking the road or in the public right of way, call 785-832-7979. For trees on private property, call one of the city’s licensed tree trimmers.

The city of Lawrence sent out instructions for disposal of tree debris in a news release:

There is no yard waste pick-up on Monday, May 30 due to Memorial Day. However, residents can take storm damage to the city’s brush site at 1420 E. 11th Street (two blocks east of 11th and Haskell) on Saturday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost: $5 per pickup truck load (more for larger trucks). Cash only. Compost and woodchip sales will occur on Saturday, May 28 as usual.

If debris is too large to cut up and bundle, the city will work to clear debris placed at the curb next week, May 31 to June 3.

Road reopened

U.S. Highway 24 north of Lawrence, which was closed Thursday night, reopened to traffic Friday morning, the Kansas Department of Transportation announced.

Standing water had been reported on the stretch of highway between Tee Pee Junction and U.S. Highway 59 in Jefferson County.

By 5 a.m. Friday morning, KDOT was reporting the waters had receded and the road was once again open to traffic. Several other roads in northeast Kansas remained closed, KDOT said. Those roads include: K-5 in Leavenworth County over 7-Mile Creek; K-92 in Leavenworth County over Stranger Creek; and K-192 in Leavenworth County over Stranger Creek.