Kansas death blamed on flash flooding

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities in eastern Kansas say a 56-year-old man drowned after his car was swept away by floodwaters caused by thunderstorms that pummeled the region. The Miami County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Tuesday that the body of Robert Dean Schoenhals of Pleasanton was found about 2½ hours after the accident.

Authorities say a deputy saw Schoenhals try to drive through high standing water on a highway shortly before 4:50 a.m. when the car hydroplaned off the road and entered a ditch with deep, rushing water. The Sheriff’s Office says the car was found unoccupied about 45 minutes later some 150 yards (135 meters) from where it first entered the water. Schoenhals’ body was found about 7:20 a.m., about 75 yards (70 meters) from his vehicle.

Rain in the region prompted rescues of stranded motorists and others who scrambled to safety atop rooftops.Authorities rescued more than a dozen stranded drivers after heavy rains soaked parts of Kansas City, Missouri, and its suburbs.

Flash flood warnings were issued across the area. Local media report that police and fire crews planned Tuesday to go door-to-door in one area of southern Kansas City, asking residents to voluntarily evacuate. The National Weather Service says as much as 9 inches of rain fell in one city neighborhood, while a large swath around the city saw between 4 and 6 inches of rain.

In the suburb of Overland Park, Kansas, the local fire department says it responded to over 16 water assist calls as drivers found themselves stalled in high waters. Water rescues also were conducted on the Missouri side of the metropolitan area, in Kansas City and Riverside.

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