The eastern edge of Jackson County took the strongest blow from heavy rains that struck the metro area late Wednesday and early Thursday.
Buckner police said they rescued one person off the top of a car in the area of U.S. 24 and Powell Road, after a sheriff's deputy responding to the scene had slid off the road.
Police also helped evacuate some residents in a north-side neighborhood due to flooding from Fire Prairie Creek and rescued two semi-truck drivers in separate incidents at Buckner-Tarsney Road and Neil Chiles Road.
The National Weather Service said “major flash flooding” resulted from most areas of the metro getting three or more hours of rain at one to two inches an hour. The agency singled out Tomahawk Creek in Leawood and Indian Creek in Overland Park, both of which hit record high levels.
Although the area along the state line got 5 to 6 inches and was the scene of several water rescues, the heaviest rain as indicated by radar was the 7 to 8 inches that fell in an area from Sibley and Buckner to southwest Lafayette County and the northwest edge of Johnson County.
Mark Sherwood, emergency manager for the Sni Valley Fire Protection District and the city of Oak Grove, said Oak Grove received more than 7 inches of rain, while Odessa received about 9 inches.
“Sni(a-Bar) Creek is higher than I've ever seen it, and I've been here more than 30 years,” Sherwood said early Thursday afternoon, “and it hasn't crested yet.”
The fire protection district said it rescued a woman from her vehicle on Golden Belt Road near Horseshoe Creek, just east of Oak Grove, at about 4 a.m.
A spokesperson for the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District said it assisted Sni Valley on some rescues and had some “minor rescues” of pedestrians in Blue Springs.
At one point early Thursday, the Weather Service posted a tweet calling the ongoing water rescues “countless.” In addition to the ones in Eastern Jackson County and Lafayette County, it noted rescues underway at 72nd and Wornall, at 12th and Jackson and at Cleaver and Cleveland, all in Kansas City.
The Weather Service also reported that Interstate 70 was closed around 2 a.m. near Odessa and that U.S. 24 was closed at the Jackson County/Lafayette County line.
The state reported several road closures. So did Jackson County: Stillhouse Road between Ryan Road and R.D. Mize Road, Old Pink Hill Road west of Route H, and Old U.S. 40 from Buckner-Tarsney Road and Lefholz Road.
The county also closed some park facilities: Blue Springs beach, Longview beach, much of the Little Blue Trace Trail, the Longview Bike Trail and the softball complex at 140th and Holmes.
The Little Blue River, which is controlled by a series of dams, rose quickly to 21.14 feet early Thursday but was back down to 18.43 feet by late afternoon at the Lake City gauge in eastern Independence. Flood stage is 18 feet. The river is expected to be down to about seven feet by late today. The Missouri River crested below flood stage at Sibley early Thursday.
One water rescue – televised and particularly dramatic – was in south Kansas City. Brian Darby and his business partner had scrambled to their Coach's Bar & Grill early Thursday to check for possible flooding and save paperwork when Indian Creek floodwaters inundated the restaurant, in the area of 103rd Street and Wornall, trapping them.
The two sought higher ground on the bar and later on equipment before ultimately being rescued by firefighters – only after Darby says he began sending out goodbye texts to his family.
"It's the most scared I've ever been," Darby said by telephone while awaiting the rescue. "We regret the Fire Department has to risk lives to save us."
-- The Associated Press contributed to this article.