Storms pass through SWKS, causing damage

By Josh Harbour
Garden City Telegram – June 23, 2017

Photo by Holcomb Fire Department. Click on photo to view full-size.

Summer thunderstorms bringing rain, hail, wind and lightning through southwest Kansas on Tuesday and Wednesday caused their share of damage.

Mick McGuire, National Weather Service meteorologist, told the Hutchinson News that the NWS received two reports of golf ball-sized hail falling near Ulysses on Wednesday. He said there were several reports of broken windshields and other property damage.

“Large hail and heavy rains, that’s a pretty good recipe for some damage, and that’s what Ulysses had,” Ray Burgert, meteorologist with the NWS in Dodge City, said Thursday.

Outside of Ulysses, the largest hail reports reported by the NWS in the region were 2.75-inch stones 9 miles south of Kendall in Hamilton County, and 2.5-inch stones in Scott County, about 9 miles north of Modoc.

Other reports included “ping pong to hen egg sized” stones at Scott State Lake and golf-ball-sized hail in Scott City, according to the Hutchinson News.

Burgert said Wednesday’s storm also produced 60 to 70 mph wind gusts. The NWS reported that high winds were reported in Finney, Grant and Kearny counties, breaking tree limbs and damaging Holcomb Middle School.

Garden City Fire Chief Allen Shelton said the Garden City Fire Department responded to seven fire calls on Tuesday and Wednesday related to the storms that passed through, with most of them in the southern and western parts of Finney County. The fires likely were caused by lightning, he said.

Fires ranged from grass, haystack, wheat stubble, and uncut wheat fires, Shelton said, adding that there were some haystacks that were lost to the fires, but the full monetary amount is not yet available as the GCFD is waiting to hear back from farmers.

Holcomb Community Fire Department Chief Bill Knight said on Thursday that there was a large hay fire west of Holcomb Wednesday night, likely caused by lightning, though it’s still under investigation.

“We don’t have an exact amount on how many hay bales were destroyed, but there were no injuries and nothing was damaged besides the hay,” Knight said.

Rainfall over the course of the two days varied across southwest Kansas, Burgert said, noting that the thunderstorms passing through on Tuesday dropped up to one inch an hour in some areas.

On Wednesday, some parts of southwest Kansas received three inches or more, Burgert said, while some areas received less than an inch. Areas in Scott and Grant counties received the most rainfall.

Thunderstorms returned to the region Thursday night, although rain totals were not available as of press time.

“The main threat (Thursday) will be strong winds, hail — not as big as what we’ve seen in the last couple of days. Winds are really going to be the main threat from the storms that develop tonight (Thursday),” Burgert said earlier in the day.

There will be a chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms on Friday, though they don’t look severe, said Burgert, adding that there’s a chance for more storms on Saturday and Sunday.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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