Eilert issues local disaster declaration after storms wreak havoc on Johnson County

Jay Senter - July 28, 2017 7:27 am
Flash flooding washed trailer belonging to Boy Scout Troop 192 at Old Mission United Methodist from the church parking lot and onto a golf cart bridge at Kansas City Country Club. Photo by Jim Poplinger.
Flash flooding washed trailer belonging to Boy Scout Troop 192 at Old Mission United Methodist from the church parking lot and onto a golf cart bridge at Kansas City Country Club. Photo by Jim Poplinger.

The one-two punch of Saturday’s wind damage and Thursday’s flash flooding have prompted Johnson County officials to declare a state of emergency.

Board of County Commissioners Chair Ed Eilert on Thursday signed the declaration of local disaster emergency, which allows the county’s emergency response agencies access to additional resources.

“The disaster declaration allows us to request additional resources and potential funding assistance if our county’s total damage estimates reach the required levels to qualify for the assistance for public facilities and roadways,” Dan Robeson, Johnson County emergency management coordinator, said in a statement. “It also activates the response and recovery aspects of local and inter-jurisdictional disaster emergency plans.”

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With between four and six inches of raining falling Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Johnson County’s waterways quickly began to hop their banks, causing severe flooding in surrounding areas and stranding motorists caught off guard by the rapidly rising water levels. Johnson County Emergency Management’s dispatch center sent out crews on nine water rescue calls as well as 17 water assistance calls.

The National Weather Service tracked water crest levels during the storm and found that several area creeks saw record flooding. The tracking station on Tomahawk Creek at Roe Avenue, near 124th Street, recorded a crest level of 20.81 feet. The creek floods at a crest of 13 feet. The tracking station on Indian Creek at State Line Road, just north of I-435, recorded a crest of 27.96 feet, a record.

“Multiple waterways within the county broke previous crest records,” Robeson said. “Low lying areas along Indian Creek, Turkey Creek, Tomahawk Creek, Little Mill Creek and the Blue River have been the most problematic areas.”

Several of the city of Leawood’s public facilities saw major damage in the storm. A parks maintenance facility, Leawood City Park structures and a fire truck were all damaged in the storm.

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