The cap was just too strong for thunderstorms to develop in southern and central Kansas on Thursday – good news for those who might have otherwise been picking up the pieces, but a disappointment for storm enthusiasts.
Thunderstorms dropped hail bigger than softballs in some places and as big as baseballs in others. Tornadoes hopscotched north of U.S. 24.
A damage assessment team from the Hastings, Neb., branch of the National Weather Service determined that one tornado touched down about four miles north of Beloit near K-14 early Friday morning and moved northeast. It traveled about 15 miles before lifting three miles south of Jamestown in Cloud County.
At its widest point, the tornado was at least a half-mile wide. The survey team estimated that the tornado had winds of up to 115 miles an hour, making it an EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale.
Mitchell County Emergency Management Director Scott Davies said 7 homes were damaged – three severely – and numerous farm outbuildings were destroyed. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
For anyone who’s wondering, hailstones as big as baseballs could be fatal if they hit someone in the wrong place.
“Those hail stones are falling at close to 100 miles an hour when they hit the ground,” said Chris Bowman, a meteorologist with the Wichita office of the weather service.
By the way: if anyone has photos of the storm damage (or the hail stones) and would like to share them with us, e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.