flooding anniversary

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- This Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of one of the worst floods in Kansas City history.

As much as 5 inches of rain fell in less than two hours on Oct. 4, 1998.

The Chiefs were playing the Seahawks that night, which was a Sunday, and the rain soaked the field and turned the aisles at Arrowhead into raging waterfalls.

The game was delayed for more than 50 minutes because of the rain and lightning.

Elsewhere in KC, the flooding had deadly consequences.

Along Brush Creek, a lot has changed because of that flood. The city has done a lot to fix areas known for flooding and there are several projects still in the works. They have even upgraded their citywide emergency response system.

All of that was done in the hopes that they don’t have a repeat of what happened there 20 years ago.

That night, at Brush Creek and Wornall near the Plaza, cars were stranded in high water.

On Prospect Avenue Bridge over Brush Creek, the intersection flooded. It was dark and hard for people to see the water. People got trapped on the bridge.

“When the floods came in, what happened was the water got backed up behind the bridges until it got high enough that it overtopped the bridges and went across the top, several feet deep,” said Tom Kimes, Storm Water Utility Engineering Manager with KC Water.

Seven people died during the flood that night.

The city has been working to addressing flooding on Brush Creek ever since. They’ve repaired an area on the Plaza and there’s been a FEMA flooding control project on the Prospect Bridge.

“So, the channel was about triple in size and there was a bridge here that had a very small opening in it, so it was enlarged and it was also elevated, and so it’s higher above the channel than it was before,” Kimes said. “The channel itself was actually dropped a few feet, so it’s lower, so there’s much more room beneath the bridge and we can get a 500-year flood beneath the bridge now.”

Kimes said that, about a year and a half ago, voters passed a GO Bond for $150 million for flood control projects. That has been very important for the city to move forward on a few projects where flooding is still an issue.

Kimes said that, if you look up in the trees, you can still a disk in the trees that represents where the high-water marks were.

Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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