Category Archives: Wind

Strong storms may pass through Wichita area tonight

Strong storms – packing winds that could approach the 90-mile-an-hour gales in last month’s damaging storm – are possible overnight in the Wichita metropolitan area, according to the Wichita branch of the National Weather Service.

“We could see that again overnight,” admits Chance Hayes, warning coordination meteorologist for the weather service, “but I’m not too fired up about it.”

The winds in late June occurred as a thunderstorm collapsed, sending air rushing toward the ground and then spreading outward. It’s possible a similar scenario could play out overnight, Hayes said, but he’s only got a 30 percent chance in the forecast for now.

“If storms develop, the potential is there,” he said.

Wind advisory for much of Monday

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday for 14 counties in southern and central Kansas, including the Wichita metropolitan area.

Winds are expected to increase to between 30 and 40 miles an hour this afternoon, with even stronger winds likely in central Kansas.

“Driving will be difficult on east-west oriented highways, most notably I-70 and Highway 400,” a statement issued by the weather service reads.

Counties included in the advisory are Russell, Lincoln, Barton, Ellsworth, Saline, Rice, McPherson, Marion, Reno, Harvey, Kingman, Sedgwick, Harper and Sumner.

Severe thunderstorm watch for Wichita and central Kansas until 5 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch until 5 a.m. Wednesday for 35 counties in central and eastern Kansas, including the Wichita metropolitan area. Counties included in the warning:

BARBER BARTON BUTLER
CHASE CLARK COMANCHE
COWLEY DICKINSON EDWARDS
ELLIS ELLSWORTH FORD
GEARY HARPER HARVEY
HODGEMAN KINGMAN KIOWA
LINCOLN MARION MCPHERSON
MORRIS NESS OTTAWA
PAWNEE PRATT RENO
RICE RUSH RUSSELL
SALINE SEDGWICK STAFFORD
SUMNER TREGO

The primary hazards are locally heavy rainfall and damaging winds of up to 70 miles an hour.

Today’s severe weather threat in Kansas

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman has issued a slight risk for severe weather in much of central Kansas – including the Wichita area -as well as portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado and Missouri.

The tornado threat is minimal, according to an SPC outlook, but large hail and strong winds are possible.

Residents should monitor forecasts and conditions and be prepared to seek appropriate shelter if and when strong storms threaten. The National Weather Service in Wichita is projecting the storms to reach the Wichita area after 7 p.m.

I-70 reopens in northwest Kansas

Conditions have improved enough for I-70 to reopen from Goodland to the Colorado state line.

Blowing snow and snow-covered roads had prompted the closing of the interstate earlier today.

Blowing snow closes I-70 west of Goodland

Authorities have closed I-70 from Goodland to the Colorado state line due to blowing snow.

More than two feet of snow has fallen in parts of northwestern Colorado, and northwest Kansas has widespread reports of several inches of snow.

The precipitation is still falling as rain in the Wichita area, with as much as 1.25 inches reported in the city as of about 7 a.m. Snow is already being reported in Reno County, however, and forecasters are still calling for a dusting of snow in the metro area later today.

Map of snow storm’s impact

Here’s a map generated by the National Weather Service indicating the projected impact of the snow storm moving through Kansas today and tonight.

A new way to measure wind speeds?

I was annoyed by what I thought was a leaf blower outside. It’s the wind!

Amy Palmer’s tweet from windy, snowy Kansas City earlier today made me chuckle.

Then it made me think: why don’t we use descriptive terms or phrases for the wind more often? We have “hail the size of golf balls,” for example.

But how often do we hear the wind speed/strength relayed in ways we quickly grasp? What’s a gale-force wind sound like, for those who haven’t experienced them? What does a 15-mile-an-hour breeze sound like?

Oh, we’ve all heard the cliche about tornadoes sounding like freight trains – the irony being that, for all the tornadoes I’ve been close enough to hear, not one of them made me think of a freight train. Jet engines? Yes. A flowing river? Yes, especially if the tornado is moving over a wheat field or pasture. A freight train? Nope.

I’ve heard wind whisper, whistle, whine, howl.

But what terms or phrases do you use? Let me know at sfinger@wichitaeagle.com, and I’ll share them in another blog post.

Storm damage assessments begin around Kansas

Authorities have begun assessing widespread damage in the wake of severe storms that brought at least two tornadoes, damaging winds and hail to eastern Kansas Tuesday night.

“Big event for February” in Kansas, said Robb Lawson, a meteorologist with the Wichita branch of the National Weather Service. “Good lord.”

One tornado damaged a large portion of the small Wabaunsee County town of Harveyville southwest of Topeka after sunset, and Westar officials today said the entire town is without electricity. Straight-line winds of more than 70 miles an hour felled more than two dozen utility poles in McPherson County last night, knocking out power to the entire town of Moundridge.

One person was critically injured in Labette in southeastern Kansas last night, Lawson said. The victim has been transported to a Wichita hospital for treatment. The Labette County Emergency Manager is conducting a damage assessment survey to determine whether the three-mile wide damage path was the result of a short-lived tornado or straight-line winds.

“We do have a number of customers without power” in eastern Kansas, Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig said.

That includes about 4,000 customers in southeast Kansas, she said.

Extensive damage has been reported at Strother Field in Cowley County, where winds of at least 60 miles an hour were reported at 9 p.m. The same storm system continued strengthening as it moved east and caused extensive damage in southwestern Missouri later Tuesday night. Downtown Branson was hit by either a tornado or powerful winds, authorities said, and one person died in the town of Buffalo south of Springfield.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., documented 14 tornado reports in five different states Tuesday – including the first February tornado in Nebraska since records began being kept in 1950. The first was spotted nine miles west-southwest of Gandy in western Nebraska, and a second was reported later west of Greeley in the center of the state.

At least one tornado touched down in Reno County, authorities said. It stayed on the ground for about five minutes before lifting southwest of Hutchinson.

Damage reports adding up in the Wichita metropolitan area

Strong winds caused damage in several counties east of Wichita late Monday afternoon and into the evening.

Jabara Airport in northeast Wichita clocked a 67 mile-per-hour wind gust at 4:11 p.m., National Weather Service reports state. In Andover, Butler County Emergency Management reported a roof being torn off a building and cars being moved around in a parking lot just after 4:15 p.m.

A shed was damaged and blown into the road at U.S. 400 and Santa Fe Lake Road 6 miles east of Andover just before 4:30 p.m.

The El Dorado exit on the Kansas Turnpike clocked 60 mph winds just before 4:40 p.m. In the Montgomery County town of Caney, walls of an old garage were blown down and roofs were torn off a barn and another outbuilding at about 5:45 p.m., according to the weather service.

Pea- and nickel-sized hail reports were widespread throughout the Wichita metropolitan area, the National Weather Service reports. Hail one inch in diameter was reported just a mile east-southeast of Wichita shortly after 4 p.m.

Most of the hail was soft and mushy, weather officials said.