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Lawrence in flood watch as heavy rain forecast for Saturday evening

Lawrence is in a flood watch from the half-inch to an inch of rain it received in the first round of thunderstorms that moved through this morning through northeast Kansas and the much heavier downpours forecast for later Saturday.

Although the official National Weather Service rain gauge at the Lawrence Municipal Airport malfunctioned Saturday morning, it is estimated the city got from a half inch to an inch before the rains ended about noon, said Chad Omitt, meteorologist with NWS Topeka office. Another 2 to 4 inches are forecast to fall on Douglas County when thunderstorms fire up about 7 p.m. and continue into early Sunday morning, he said.

“Lyons and Morris counties to the southwest got from 3 to 4 inches of rain last week,” he said. “The way it’s setting up, it looks like we can expect the same thing today north along Interstate 70. It looks like a train of storms will line up along I-70 and move east. That’s why we’ve issued a flood watch for counties from Topeka east to Missouri.”

Counties in the flood watch include Douglas, Franklin, Jefferson, Leavenworth, Johnson and Shawnee counties.

The wet weather should clear by sunrise Sunday, and it is forecast to stay dry through Wednesday, Omitt said. Before rain started falling Saturday morning, Lawrence officially recorded 22.32 inches of moisture for the year, or abut 1.7 inches below normal. Saturday’s rain would more than erase that deficit, he said.

The unseasonable cool temperatures will also continue, Omitt said. Highs Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are predicted to top out in the upper 70s. The highs Wednesday through Friday should be in the lower to mid-80s, he said.

Contact Douglas County reporter Elvyn Jones

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