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Storm drenches northeast Kansas

A storm dumped up to a foot of rain over parts of northeast Kansas early Sunday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A storm dumped up to a foot of rain over parts of northeast Kansas on Sunday, sparking flash flooding that left people stranded in homes and cars, emergency officials said.

No serious injuries were reported, but emergency crews used airboats to navigate fast-moving floodwaters that damaged many homes.

About a foot of rain fell overnight in Jefferson County, and up to 10 inches was reported in Jackson County.

“The water in the creeks came up, and the homes are surrounded,” said Don Haynes, Jefferson County’s director of emergency services. “Who plans for this kind of rain?”

Emergency officials did not have an estimate of how many people had been rescued. A shelter was opened in an Oskaloosa church, and officials were planning for about 100 evacuees, said Joy Moser, spokeswoman for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.

One of those rescued was Dennis Stanwix, 49, of Grantville. An airboat picked up Stanwix, his wife, daughter and daughter’s friend Sunday morning. He said he was awakened by his phone and when he looked out the window saw nothing but water.

“I knew we were in big trouble,” he said.

Ann and Will Roberts were sleeping in their small house in Grantville when their 6-year-old daughter, Danni, awoke them Sunday morning.

“The picnic table is floating,” Ann Roberts recalled the girl saying.

A nursing home in Leavenworth County was evacuated, and the Kansas Highway Patrol rescued a man off his car on a highway, Moser said. A mobile home also was reported to have washed away in Jackson County, but the home’s resident escaped safely.

The rains closed nearly all roads in Jefferson County, with as much as 3 feet of water reported on Kansas 24. But it was receding under sunny skies by noon, said Gayle Bickel, chief of Township Fire District No. 1.