Kansas River overflows, forcing closure of walking trail on south bank

photo by: Nick Gerik

The Kansas River flows over its south bank near Lawrence's Constant Park shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

Story updated at 3:06 p.m. Wednesday

The Kansas River trail was closed Wednesday morning as the river breached its south bank after three days of rainstorms.

Constant Park, 230 W. Sixth St., to Burcham Park, on South Powerhouse Road, is closed until further notice, said Porter Arneill, director of communications with the City of Lawrence.

The Kansas River is expected to crest at 7 a.m. Friday just below minor flood stage, Bryan Baerg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, reported Wednesday morning. Crest means the level at which the water is expected to peak before it starts to go back down.

“The river is currently in the action stage; that’s right below minor flood stage,” Baerg said. “It should crest at 17.9 feet. At the minor flood stage, which is 18 feet, there is low land flooding.

Less than an inch of rain fell Tuesday night, with .83 inches measured at the Lawrence Municipal Airport. However, the total rainfall since Sunday is currently at 3.18 inches.

Another line of storms is expected to pass through the area late this afternoon and evening. There could be brief heavy rainfall, Baerg said. However, the risks for severe weather will be small.

The stationary front that has been bringing the rain will be moving through the area, leaving colder temperatures in the mid-50-degree range on Thursday. Thursday and Friday should be dry, with a slight chance of rain Friday night and into Saturday, Baerg said.

Douglas County Emergency Management is currently keeping its eye on both the Kansas and Wakarusa rivers.

“We are just in the monitoring stages,” Jillian Rodrigue, assistant director of the Douglas County Emergency Management, said Wednesday morning.

Douglas County remains in a flash flood watch until 1 a.m. Thursday. Soils are saturated from all the rain, and more rain will lead to a runoff that will cause flash flooding in the region, Baerg said.

photo by: Nick Gerik

The Kansas River flows over its south bank near Lawrence’s Constant Park shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

photo by: Nick Gerik

The Kansas River flows over its south bank near Lawrence’s Constant Park shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

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