Kansas City, Mo. Storms that pummeled the Kansas City area with several inches of rain closed roads and led to water rescues, including two people who began trapped early Thursday by floodwaters that inundated their restaurant.
National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Bowman says widespread flooding was reported after 4 to 7 inches (10 to 18 centimeters) fell over a few hours starting late Wednesday in east-central Kansas and west-central Missouri.
Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi urged motorists in a tweet not to drive into high water, saying his department was responding to calls seeking assistance in areas of flash flooding.
In south Kansas City, Chris Darby and his business partner had scrambled to their Coach's Bar & Grill early Thursday to check for possible flooding and save paperwork when Indian Creek floodwaters inundated the restaurant, trapping them.
The two sought higher ground on the bar and later on equipment before ultimately being rescued by firefighters — only after Darby says he began sending out goodbye texts to his family.
"It's the most scared I've ever been," Darby said by telephone while awaiting the rescue. "We regret the Fire Department has to risk lives to save us."
In Kansas, a stretch of Interstate 35 was closed Thursday. The Missouri Department of Transportation says stretches of Missouri 2 and 23 in Johnson County and Missouri 79 in Pike County are closed.
Several flood warnings also have been issued for rivers and streams downstream from the deluge.
Lawrence Municipal Airport measured 2.03 inches of precipitation since 10 a.m. Wednesday, with 1.5 inches falling from 10 p.m. Wednesday until 6 a.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.