Update 11:45 a.m.
The National Weather Service upgraded the flood watch to a flood warning last night.
Forecasts predicted the creek would crest at 21 feet, but the highest level read at the Scenic Drive gauge peaked at 10 feet. Though measurements at the Manhattan Scenic Drive gauge recorded decreasing water levels in Wildcat Creek, the warning remains in effect until Wednesday morning as more rain continues to fall.
Riley County Emergency Management Director Pat Collins told KMAN this morning that the Kansas River is reaching capacity, which could prevent water in Wildcat from flowing out and could lead to floods as a result of the backup.
No evacuations have been ordered at this time. Collins advised residents living in low-lying areas not to return their vehicles to their homes to prevent any losses just in case water levels begin to rise.
Forecast rains in the next couple of days have led the National Weather service to issue a flood watch for east central, north central, and northeast Kansas through Wednesday.
Heavy rainfall from multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms are projected through Tuesday night. Riley County Emergency Management Director Pat Collins told KMAN they are predicting to see between two and four inches of rain over the next 36 hours.
“[The National Weather Service] called last night and said it looks like the potential crest for Wildcat [Creek]’s going to be around 14 feet,” Collins said. “They said the caveat was that it’s just going to depend how fast the rain fell and where it fell — and that’s kind of always our concern.”
City of Manhattan staff are closely monitoring the water levels in Wildcat Creek and maintaining contact with Collins’ office, according to a press release. Additionally, city crews have been cleaning storm inlets around Manhattan after weekend storms produced 3 to 4 inches of rainfall locally.
Collins said the weekend rains also contributed to the potential for flooding.
“The ground is really saturated and the ponds are mostly full so if we were to get a real hard rain in the Wildcat [Creek] watershed or the Fancy Creek watershed, we’re going to see flooding downstream from those,” Collins said.
Crews are also preparing to respond if the river flow exceeds the levels currently forecast. City and county officials are encouraging residents to monitor weather forecasts and to sign up for emergency notifications from Riley County.