This paper is concerned with rapid distortion theory on transversely sheared mean flows that (among other things) can be used to analyse the unsteady motion resulting from the interaction of a turbulent shear flow with a solid surface. It expands on a previous analysis of Goldstein et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 824, 2017, pp. 477–512) that uses a pair of conservation laws to derive upstream boundary conditions for planar mean flows and extends these findings to transversely sheared flows of arbitrary cross-section. The results, which turn out to be quite general, are applied to the specific case of a round jet interacting with the trailing edge of a flat plate and are used to calculate the radiated sound field, which is then compared with experimental data taken at the NASA Glenn Research Center.