Kansas Floodwaters Recede

A flash flood that stranded a freight train, washed out bridges and left one woman clinging to a corn stalk was beginning to recede, officials said.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (search) declared a state of emergency in four northeast Kansas counties, and three of them remained under a flood warning Monday morning. No deaths or serious injuries were reported.

Heavy rain from a slow-moving storm Sunday dumped 8 to 10 inches in the Holton and Oskaloosa areas, National Weather Service (search) meteorologists said. Unconfirmed reports indicated 12 inches of rain in Jackson County.

"It was just one of those freaks of nature," said engineer Claude Hughes, whose Union Pacific train was stranded east of Grantville when bridges washed out ahead and behind it.

The Jefferson County (search) Sheriff's Department used an air boat to rescue Hughes and a conductor.

A woman was rescued after spending part of the night clinging to a corn stalk in a field east of Grantville. She had been swept from her flooded car.

"We could hear her screaming, but we couldn't see where she was at," Jefferson County Sheriff Roy Dunnaway said.

The water was gradually receding, said meteorologist Scott Whitmore.

The governor surveyed the flooding by helicopter Sunday and declared a state of emergency in Jefferson, Jackson, Leavenworth and Shawnee counties, authorizing the Kansas National Guard (search) and five other state agencies to provide assistance.

"Unfortunately, a lot of water is covering farmland and towns and roads," Sebelius said. "The good news is our emergency plan worked just the way it was supposed to."

About 50 people were evacuated from the Rossville Manor Nursing Home as floodwaters inched closer to the door, and 100 people were evacuated from a warehouse in Topeka, officials said.

At Oskalooksa, Bill Ferguson held onto his poodle and grabbed a tree trunk in his front yard as flood waters swept through. His wife, Bonnie, called 911 from the front porch.

"I yelled that I couldn't get back — I just couldn't," Ferguson said. Volunteer firefighters rescued the man and dog in a boat.