Daily Archives: 24 July, 2013

Ominous cloud depicts storm’s strength

This dramatic cloud formation was photographed by Nicole Loeffler in Reno County Tuesday night. The structure was morphing from a supercell thunderstorm to a more linear cluster of thunderstorms.

That’s not to say the storm had lost its ability to produce large hail, however, as Loeffler’s car can attest. She and her chase partner were caught out on an open road, and by the time they took shelter in a stranger’s house, the damage had been done.

Rainfall map shows Tuesday night’s storms packed punch

This precipitation map produced by the National Weather Service shows the cycling nature of Tuesday night’s storms, weather officials say.

Of particular interest to Wichita residents should be the heavy rain that fell in the Cheney Lake watershed area, which got “hammered” by heavy rain Tuesday night, said Chance Hayes, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wichita. That should help replenish Cheney Lake, which is Wichita’s primary water source.

This week’s storms offer more evidence the drought is easing

The strong storms that rolled through southern Kansas early this week are yet another sign that the drought gripping Kansas for the past two years appears to be easing.

The storms rode a “northwest flow” of the jet stream across the state, said Chance Hayes, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita. That’s a common weather pattern for July in this area.

“That’s been kind of non-existent the past few years,” Hayes said.

More rain and strong storms are expected late Thursday night and early Friday morning, he said. The soil is now saturated, so heavy rains could prompt flooding.

After running below normal for the month, rainfall for July is now an inch above normal. But Wichita is still two inches below normal for the summer and just two inches above last year’s rainfall total. That won’t take much of a bite out of long-term moisture deficits, Hayes said.

Wichita weather: A break from the rain

Sunshine and cool temperatures for late July will offer Wichita and the surrounding area a respite from the storms that have rocked the region the past couple of days, forecasters say.

Highs will top out in the upper 80s, with light northerly winds occasionally nudging the teens.

Lows tonight will be in the upper 60s, with winds shifting to the east but staying light.

Thursday brings a good chance of showers and thunderstorms late in the day, forecasters say. Highs will again be in the upper 80s under mostly sunny skies. Winds will shift again, back to the south, and strengthen into the teens.

Storms Thursday night could be severe, the National Weather Service warns, with downburst winds and heavy rain possible from storms moving east-southeast – much as they did Tuesday night.

For more information on current conditions, go to our weather page.

Storms deliver triple digit winds, hail nearly 5 inches in diameter, street flooding

As sunrise brings fresh light to the aftermath of strong storms in southern Kansas from Tuesday night, authorities are beginning to assess the toll.

Hail as large as baseballs was reported in east Hutchinson, according to Reno County Emergency Management. Winds estimated as high as 100 miles an hour were reported in southern Reno County near Pretty Prairie. The town itself was hit hard by hail and strong winds, knocking down trees and blocking streets.

“Please Please Please stay away from Pretty Prairie for now. They are not letting people into town at this time,” a post on Reno County Emergency Management’s Facebook page implored.

A hail stone measuring 4.75 inches in diameter fell near Yoder in eastern Reno County and hail as large as tennis balls was also reported.

More heavy rain strong winds struck Argonia in Sumner County Tuesday night, which was still picking up the pieces from Monday night’s microburst storm that ripped portions of the roof off the high school and elementary school.

Officially, Wichita recorded 1.02 inches of rain, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Schminke. But heavier amounts were reported elsewhere in the city – including an inch of rain falling in just a half-hour at Central and Ridge Road in west Wichita.

Substantial rain over each of the past two days in the Cheney Lake watershed area is likely to boost water levels at the lake. With the ground already saturated, runoff into the lake – which until recently was Wichita’s primary water source – should be considerable.