Severe weather slams parts of central Kansas

Even as meteorologists surveyed damage wrought by tornadoes earlier in the week, residents of Kansas endured a fresh round of severe weather Wednesday as winds of more than 85 mph blasted central parts of the state.

A few “small rope tornadoes” were reported in portions of western Kansas as storms moved across the state Wednesday evening, National Weather Service Wichita meteorologist Jim Caruso said, including two in Gove County and three observed about a dozen miles southeast of Kendall, located in Hamilton County.

Heavy rain caused street flooding in St. John, and a wind gust of 86 mph was reported near Macksville; other areas in the state reported 60 to 70 mph winds. Hail as large as 2 inches in diameter was reported in western Kansas.

Rainfall totals in Salina and Lindsborg topped 2 inches by late evening, Caruso said; just two-tenths of an inch had fallen in Wichita by 10 p.m. He added that wind gusts had downed some trees and power lines.

The severe weather threat is substantial again on Thursday for portions of Kansas, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. Enough instability remains in the atmosphere to support “a few strong tornadoes,” according to a statement issued by the SPC.

The Wichita branch of the National Weather Service warned that supercell thunderstorms could form Thursday afternoon along the I-35 corridor and move east. Along with large hail and damaging winds, “some strong, long-track tornadoes will also be possible,” a hazardous weather outlook issued by the agency stated.

The Topeka branch of the National Weather Service was conducting damage surveys for a number of tornadoes reported Tuesday night in Ottawa and Nemaha counties.

One house west of Bennington in rural Ottawa County was destroyed and four homes received minor to moderate damage from the tornado, according to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. Numerous outbuildings were also damaged or destroyed by the slow-moving tornado, which was on the ground for about an hour.

About 1,000 people lost power in the storm, primarily in Tescott, Ada and Culver. An estimated 100 power poles were down and power was likely not be restored for approximately 24 hours, state officials said

In Nemaha County, one house was destroyed and another damaged from a tornado that passed through rural areas near Corning and Goff. County emergency management officials advised that rural portions of the county were experiencing flash flooding from torrential rainfall from the storms, closing some rural roadways and damaging culverts.

The Seneca Fire Department and Sabetha Fire Department conducted two water rescues Tuesday night when motorists drove into flooded roadways.

Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle