Widespread Flooding Affects South Central and Southeastern Kansas, March 4th-7th, 2004 (3/7/2004)

By: Jim Caruso, NWS Wichita

Heavy rainfall Thursday into Thursday Night resulted in widespread flooding across South Central and Southeastern Kansas.

A slow-moving storm system lifted out of northern Mexico across Kansas Thursday into Thursday night. The slow-moving nature of this storm and the fact that it was coming out of northern Mexico, allowed a strong tap of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico into Kansas. Some generally lighter rains broke out well ahead of the storm on Tuesday and Wednesday, with most areas tallying less than one-half inch. However, as the storm lifted out across Kansas Thursday, it had an impressive amount of energy and moisture to work with. This resulted in very heavy rains Thursday into Thursday evening, with widespread 2 to 3 inch storm total rainfall amounts occurring southeast of a Great Bend to Salina line (See Image 1 for a radar image of estimated storm total rainfall).

The heavy rainfall resulted in excessive runoff, flooding many county roads, small streams and creeks. Flash flooding impacted Cowley and Elk Counties, where several roads became either impassable or were washed out completely.

Several area rivers went into flood Thursday and continued into the weekend of March 6th and 7th. The following is a listing of rivers in Central and Southeastern Kansas that experienced minor or moderate flooding:
   Ninnescah River at Murdock and Peck.
   Chikaskia River at Corbin.
   Verdigris River at Altoona, Independence, and Coffeyville.
   Walnut River at Winfield and Arkansas City.
   Little Arkansas River at Alta Mills, Halstead, and Sedgwick.
   Arkansas River at Oxford and Arkansas City.
   Cottonwood River at Florence, Cottonwood Falls and Plymouth.
   Fall River at Fredonia.
   Cowskin Creek at 119th Street in Wichita.
   Neosho River at Iola, Chanute, Erie, Parsons, and Oswego.
   Gypsum Creek at Gypsum.

The following are some measured storm total rainfall amounts from March 2nd through March 4th, 2004:

   Coffeyville  4.61 inches
   Hutchinson   3.33 inches
   Winfield     3.26 inches
   Wichita      2.61 inches
   Chanute      2.55 inches
   Salina       2.23 inches

This story was brought to you by the National Weather Service - Wichita, Kansas.

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