Heavy rain, isolated hail hit Wichita overnight

More than 3 inches of rain has fallen in parts of northern and western Wichita overnight, spawning thousands of power outages.

Isolated hail – including one report of stones the size of golf balls – was also reported as a potent storm formed in the Wichita metropolitan area and then churned northeast toward Topeka.

“It developed right over us, really, and gave us a good bit of rain,” said Scott Smith, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wichita.

The northern half of the city generally received between 2 and 3 inches of rain, Smith said.

“There’s probably some isolated 4 inches,” based on what Doppler radar is indicating, he said.

An off-duty weather service meteorologist who lives in far west Wichita reported 3.08 inches. The official rainfall total at the weather service office next to Mid-Continent Airport was 1.17 inches shortly after 7 a.m., Smith said. Jabara Airport in northeast Wichita recorded 1.5 inches.

Some parts of south Wichita and the metropolitan area only received about a half-inch of rain, Smith said.

The strong late-night storms knocked out power to thousands of Westar Energy customers for a short time. More than 4,000 customers were without electricity at one stage late Tuesday night, but the number of outages was listed at 275 at about 7:30 a.m. on the utility’s web site.

The weather service received more than a half-dozen reports of hail in Wichita, Smith said. Most of it was less than an inch in diamater, though one person reported golf ball sized hail 2 miles northwest of downtown – or about 13th and Zoo Boulevard.

More rain is expected periodically in the Wichita area through Friday, Smith said, but at this point no more heavy rain is anticipated.