Severe Weather Safety Week: Flash flooding No. 1 severe weather killer

Flash flooding is the No. 1 severe weather killer. It is also the most devastating in terms of financial damage left behind. 

The community of Mulvane learned that first hand in 2016 when a late August thunderstorm system pushed through Kansas. 

Strong thunderstorms produced rainfall rates of two to three inches per hour. Mulvane was left with dangerous flooding. 

“There were definitely a lot of homes in this area over here that were a part of that two to three feet deep flooding. They’re closer to the creek so they had some pretty high impact. Multiple people in that area got stranded,” said Amy Houston, Mulvane Area Long-Term Recovery Committee. 

The power of a flash flood can be so strong that as little as six inches of fast moving water can sweep most vehicles off the road.

“We did have one lady that was trapped on the hood of her car, and the car got swept off the road,” said Capt. Lowell Esther, Mulvane Fire Department. 

Many residents were hit hard by the flooding.

“Then, you come into this building, and it’s even lower. So, it had almost four feet of water in it. You can kind of look in the windows, you can see where the water line came up and destroyed the flooring, the walls and the sides of the building,” said Houston.

The cleanup process can be very long and emotional.

“My son’s first baby blankets and their first clothes. Different things that you think you can wash and clean, and then everyday you’re just trying to function and trying to get through this mess that was once a beautiful home that you enjoyed living in,” said Houston. 

In the wake of the flood, Mulvane residents are a lot more prepared. 

“Upstream of Styx Creek, the creek that comes through the city, that’s the one that flooded and did the damage in the city. What we’ve done is north of that, we’re going to look at creating a storage area. A detention pond,” said Hixon.

Infrastructure that is helping to protect homes and buildings. 

City leaders also hope people won’t take any unnecessary risks.

“If you see a flooded roadway, don’t even try, because as much as you know that roadway, you really don’t know how much water is on it,” said Houston.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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