The City of Lawrence will experience flooding sometime in the future. History has shown that the community has a number of local flood hazard areas. These areas can experience frequent or infrequent inundations of water from rain/storm events.
The worst flood in Lawrence’s history was the flood of 1951, causing damage to the City in excess of $3 million as both the Kansas and Wakarusa Rivers flooded their surroundings. In 1993, Lawrence was faced with another major flood. The local system of levees and reservoirs did their job and the city only experienced $1.2 million in damage. Damage for the area, however, topped $5.8 as the majority of flooding in 1993 occurred in those unprotected areas of the Kansas and Wakarusa Rivers.
There are also numerous creeks and tributaries subject to frequent flooding with little warning after substantial rain events due to their small drainage areas and steep slopes. These include the Brook Street, Belle Haven, Hidden Valley, and KLWN Tributaries.
The Maple Grove Drainageway is also subject to quick flood rises with little warning. To find out about other specific localized areas subject to flooding, please contact the Stormwater Engineering Division at (785) 832-3143.
To view a listing of Journal-World headlines relating to past floods and other related topics, please click here. Some of these stories are available for viewing online at the Lawrence Journal-World’s website in the archived stories section. All stories are available for review online or on microfilm at the Lawrence Public Library.