More heavy rain possible for already-saturated Lawrence in coming days

photo by: Nick Gerik

Water from the Kansas River flows inland at Lawrence's Burcham Park, Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

Wednesday’s bright blue sky was a welcome sight, especially for folks dealing with wet basements and leaky roofs, but it’s not likely to repeat itself in coming days.

“The stuff will be moving back,” said Shawn Byrne, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Topeka. There was a 60% chance of rain for Wednesday night.

Byrne said heavy rain was possible in coming days, with the forecast calling for an 80% chance of heavy rain Friday night as Memorial Day weekend gets underway.

“With these very high dew points, it’s very moist, and that could bring heavy precipitation,” he said, referring to any number of storms that could form.

The latest observation of the Kansas River, taken before noon on Wednesday, reported it cresting at 18.79 feet, which is minor flood stage. Byrne said the river was expected to be down to 17.5 feet by Thursday morning, provided heavy rain didn’t fall overnight.

It’s going to be a tough Memorial Day weekend at Perry Lake, said R.J. Harms, the Army Corps of Engineers project manager for Perry and Clinton lakes.

The water at Perry Lake is currently over 25 feet high, and all the campgrounds managed by the Army Corps are closed, along with the boat ramps.

Clinton Lake is at 14 feet, and all boat ramps are currently closed.

Harms didn’t expect to make any releases into the Missouri River from the lakes over the weekend.

“The Missouri River isn’t expected to drop, and there is a strong possibility both lakes could go up even more,” Harms said.

With all the rain, ServiceMaster Cleaning & Restoration by NEK, 1360 N. Third St., had taken 150 calls in the past two days, said Shannon Harrison, project manager for the company that serves northeast Kansas.

“People are finding leaks in their foundations; there have been a lot of sump pump calls and issues of standing water in basements,” Harrison said. Most calls are for finished basements, she said, as people with unfinished basements tend to extract the water and dry it out themselves.

The ground is 100% saturated, which is why people are seeing issues they don’t normally see with the rain coming in little cracks and crevices and window wells, Harrison said.

To keep water out of the house, she recommended checking sump pumps and having power backup for them. She also suggested checking that gutters and downspouts are getting the water away from the foundation of your home. She also said it was very important to get everything dried out to prevent mold.

At Westlake Ace Hardware, 711 W. 23rd St. customers have been buying sump pumps, wet-dry vacuums and other products to deal with water problems, said manager Sean Christensen. While he didn’t have an exact number, he said sales had been brisk because he has sold out of his inventory and has been replenishing stock.

“I just want to do everything to help people direct water flow from their basements with more rain coming,” he said.

While it has been busy at Anderson Rentals, 1312 W. Sixth St., it’s not as busy as it was back in 1993, said owner Bill Anderson, referring to the widespread summer flooding across the Midwest that left parts of Lawrence, particularly North Lawrence, submerged.

At Alpha Roofing LLC, 3705 Clinton Parkway, dozens of calls had come in during the past two days with people needing repairs on leaky roofs, said Yvonne Ruder, chief operating officer. With all the calls pouring in, the company prioritizes emergencies that might require tarps before more rain falls.

photo by: Nick Gerik

Water from the Kansas River flows inland at Lawrence’s Burcham Park, Wednesday, May 22, 2019.


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