Storms bring a brief tornado, hail as large as softballs, powerful winds – and badly needed rain

Potent thunderstorms pounded the Wichita metropolitan area Thursday night, flooding streets, knocking down power lines and tree limbs but otherwise sparing the region of serious damage.

A rope tornado touched down briefly north of Colwich, according to the National Weather Service, and softball-sized hail was reported near Mount Hope. Hail as large as baseballs was reported in Goddard.

“I lost about half my fleet due to hail,” Goddard Police Chief Sam Houston said.

Seven police cars lost windshields and sustained substantial body damage in the hail storm, Houston said, and several public works vehicles were damaged as well.

The first photo in the blog was taken by Ted Thomason and shared by the National Weather Service. It shows the area where the tornado touched down, at 261st Street West and 61st Street North. The second photo, by Lee West, was taken from Main Street in Colwich.

Hail about the size of golf balls was reported in several locations and broke vehicle windows near Bentley. This photo of hail stones was taken by Ryan Mitchell in rural Harvey County.

There were multiple reports of 75-mile-an-hour winds in or near El Dorado in Butler County, meteorologist Vanessa Pearce said.

Trees were snapped off and a fence blown over in Andover and more trees and an awning knocked down by strong winds in Towanda, authorities said. In Sumner County, trees were blown over and siding blown off a city building in Belle Plaine.

Nearly three inches of rain fell in west Wichita last night, Pearce said. The 2.82 inches is more than fell in all of May. The heaviest rain, as shown by this precipitation map, fell in portions of western Sedgwick County.