Riley County residents on Tuesday continued to mop up after major flooding displaced about 300 people on Monday, while simultaneously keeping an eye on local rivers and creeks as more rain was in the forecast.
Heavy rainfall that began on Sunday evening dumped nearly 9 inches of rain in the Manhattan area, forcing the evacuation of people living in the area of Scenic Drive and Anderson Avenue as the waters of Wildcat Creek spilled out of their banks.
Rain was falling at rates of up to 2 inches and hour overnight Sunday into Monday as the system that brought the moisture stalled over the Manhattan area.
By Tuesday, authorities said all roads and bridges that had been blocked off had been reopened after the flood waters had receded.
No injuries were reported as a result of the flood waters, though dollar estimates of widespread damage hadn't been released as of late Tuesday morning.
Pat Collins, director of Riley County Emergency Management, told The Topeka Capital-Journal on Tuesday that some residents have been able to return to their flood-damaged homes and apartments, while several dozen others were staying in shelters set up in Manhattan.
"We had 28 people last night," Collins said Tuesday. "We actually think there's going to be more today, because some of the people who stayed in motels probably be coming to the shelter tonight."
Collins said that while flood waters of Wildcat Creek have receded, emergency management personnel are watching the rising Kansas River, which was at 14 feet on Tuesday afternoon but was expected to crest around 18 feet by Wednesday. There was no imminent threat that the Kansas River would flood in the area, but gates that let water out of town would have to be shut.
On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Jeff Colyer issued a state of disaster emergency declaration for five counties: Jewell, Kingman, Marshall, Pratt, and Riley Counties.
"Here in Kansas we make it a priority to take care of our neighbors," said Colyer in a prepared statement. "Those impacted by the recent flooding have our full support and we will continue to do whatever is needed to help during this time of emergency."
Collins said emergency personnel, including Riley County police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, responded to the flood, assisting those who were displaced and helping them get back into their homes as soon as possible.
Collins added that work was being done as of Tuesday afternoon to assess damage related to the flood.
Reports on the flood and response from local authorities was posted on various social media sites.
"We appreciate all of the support from the resilient citizens of Manhattan, local emergency services, and our officers after the flash flood this morning," the Riley County police said on Facebook. "Damage assessments are not fully complete yet, but some people will be dealing with cleanup and restoration for several weeks. The generosity and strength shown by the people who live here is what makes Manhattan a place we are proud to call home."
Audra Hennecke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Topeka, said more rainfall is possible Tuesday afternoon and in the coming few days in the Manhattan area, as well as other portions of north-central and northeast Kansas.
"Needless to say, we're closely monitoring the ongoing rain chances they'll have today," Hennecke said. "The soil is very much saturated and is very sensitive to additional rain."
Hennecke said a briefing on Tuesday morning indicated assessments had been done on the structural integrity of bridges that had been submerged by up to 5 feet of flood water on Monday in the Manhattan area. Among bridges that were checked before being reopened was one on Scenic Drive.
#mhkflood2018 update 9:45 am
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— City of Manhattan (@cityofmhk) September 4, 2018
Henneke said the Manhattan area was on the eastern edge of showers on Tuesday morning. Heavier rain was being reported farther to the north and west, near Concordia and Washington. Still, by late Tuesday morning, only about one-tenth to three-tenths of an inch of rain was being reported in those areas.
"We do have a batch that is lifting northward," Henneke said. "We are hoping it will be more progressive — just showers, no lighting with it. We shouldn't have major downpours. It's sill something we're going to have to watch."
The system is expected to move farther to the east, toward Topeka, and should linger for the next several days.
"We're in this pattern in which we're continuing to bring more moisture into the area," Henneke said. "We're stuck in this pattern that really isn't moving anywhere."
Meanwhile, farther west in central Kansas, Ellsworth and Lincoln counties were placed around 7 a.m. Tuesday under a Flood Warning. The weather service said that warning was scheduled to be in effect until 3 p.m. Tuesday.