Category Archives: Wind

Biting cold winds making Wichita shudder

November winds are howling through Wichita today, bringing down power lines and stirring up so much dust a haze has settled over portions of the city.

The southerly winds are blowing steadily at nearly 30 miles an hour and gusting to more than 50, according to the National Weather Service. A red flag warning remains in effect until 6 p.m.

Folks were trying to maintain their sense of humor in the midst of the ferocious winds. Just after noon, the Wichita Police Department tweeted “It is windy enough today, we considered putting sails on our police cars to save gas!”

Four injuries reported from a tornado in northwest Kansas

Four people were injured Monday when a tornado struck their rural Norton County home, state officials said.

The tornado was one of more than a half-dozen reported in northwest Kansas on Monday. None of the injuries was serious, Sharon Watson, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, told the Associated Press.

At least three homes were damaged or destroyed outside Almena near the Nebraska border, Watson said.

Preliminary reports indicate most of the tornadoes were EF0 or EF1 and relatively short-lived, according to the Goodland branch of the National Weather Service. But one tornado, north of Hill City in Graham County, was rated an EF3.

Here’s a photo of that large tornado, near U.S. 283, taken by Mike Umscheid, a meteorologist with the Dodge City branch of the weather service. Umschied, who was storm chasing while on vacation, is the meteorologist who issued the “tornado emergency” for Greensburg in 2007.

Tornadoes were also reported in Gove, Sheridan and Phillips counties. Hail as large as softballs was reported in Haskell County, and as large as baseballs in Graham County

No tornadoes were reported in the Wichita area, but powerful straight line winds are blamed for damage near Maize and Valley Center. A metal shed was flattened near Hoover and 53rd Street North, and a semi was blown over two miles east of Maize on K-96.

A roof was ripped off a building a mile southeast of Valley Center, and swingset was blown into a bay window of a house in town. Fences were also blown down in Douglass in Butler County as the line of storms moved east.

The strongest winds reported in Sedgwick County were 72 miles an hour at the weather service office in west Wichita, while winds of 76 mph were recorded in Atlanta in Butler County.

The winds downed 14 power poles in the Wichita area, according to Gina Penzig, a Westar spokeswoman. Over the course of the storm, about 7,000 customers lost power. About half of that number regained power by 10 p.m. Monday, and the rest had been restored by about 8:30 a.m. today, Penzig said.

Storm damage surveys were being conducted Tuesday by officials from the Goodland and Wichita branches of the weather service.

Winds earlier this week “truly remarkable,” weather officials say

Yes, it can be windy in Kansas come springtime – then again, it can be windy around here pretty much any time of year.

But those persistently high winds and frequent gusts of 45 miles an hour or more have turned heads of national weather officials nonetheless. There were more than 1,000 reports of thunderstorm wind gusts or winds strong enough to cause damage.

Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, called that “a truly remarkable number of wind events.”

Large hail, strong winds reported with Sunday night storm

Damaging winds and large hail were reported with a late-night storm system Sunday, authorities said, but Wichita ducked the worst of it.

A wind of 63 miles an hour was reported at Mid-Continent Airport at 8:20 p.m., and there were reports of pea-sized hail in northwest Wichita. But that was about it for the city, said Scott Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“We just missed it,” Smith said.

Hail as large as hen’s eggs fell in Lincolnville in Marion County, and golf ball-sized hail fell in Saffordville in Chase County, north of Benton in Butler County, northwest of Marion in Marion County and in Winfield in Cowley County. Nickel-sized hail fell in Park City.

Courtesy LiveHailMap.com

Power poles were knocked down at K-196 just north of U.S. 254 west-northwest of El Dorado, sparking a grass fire shortly after 8:30 p.m., authorities reported. Winds of 70 miles an hour were reported in Chase and Butler counties Sunday night.

More strong winds are expected this afternoon, Smith said, with gusts topping 40 miles an hour. A red flag warning has been issued for 1 to 5 p.m. in 20 counties of central and southern Kansas, including the Wichita metropolitan area.

It’s not your imagination – the day’s getting colder

Wichita has already hit its high temperature for the day – and that came before dawn.

The mercury is on a steady slide from that 54 recorded at 4:36 a.m., and it’s going to bottom out in the low 20s tonight, National Weather Service meteorologist Vanessa Pearce said.

Wind chills will flirt with the single digits, thanks to gusty north-northwest winds, and they’ll persist on Tuesday.

Bundle up.

Six tornadoes confirmed in Wichita area from Wednesday’s storms

A storm damage survey conducted by the National Weather Service confirmed that six tornadoes touched down in or near the Wichita area Wednesday night. Fortunately, none of the tornadoes stayed on the ground for long, and all of the them were weak EF0s.

The tornadoes and their locations:
* 7 miles west of Derby, Sedgwick County
* 6 miles east of Clearwater, Sedgwick County
* 1 mile east of Mulvane, Sumner County
* 2 miles north-northwest of Severy, Greenwood County
* 8 miles north of Winfield, Cowley County
* 3 miles northwest of Burden, Cowley County

Strong winds were also associated with the storm. Meteorologists said the strongest winds appeared to come from the storm’s rear-flank downdrafts. Multiple locations reported winds in excess of 70 miles an hour.

* 80 MPH (estimated) in Winfield, Cowley County
* 76 MPH (measured) in Mulvane, Sumner County
* 72 MPH (measured) in Cherryvale, Montgomery County
* 70 MPH (estimated) in Fredonia, Wilson County

Strong winds causing travel hazards in Wichita area

Winds of up to 50 miles an hour are causing areas of blowing dust west of Wichita, dropping visibility to near zero, according to the National Weather Service.

“Driving will obviously be dangerous, especially on Highway 400 in Kingman and Sedgwick counties,” the agency reported in a significant weather statement.

Kellogg becomes U.S. 400 outside the Wichita city limits.

The strong winds are expected to subside by 5 p.m.

Blame the heat spike on downslope winds

Kansas may not have mountains – but its weather is often affected by them.

This heat wave is an example. Winds racing down the slope of the Front Range of the Rockies are sending temperatures soaring in the Wichita area.

Air cools as it rises, and warms as it descends. Winds out of the southwest commonly are coming off the mountains, and if they’re at all robust that rapid compression of the air can vault temperatures several degrees.

When it happens in April or October, the “downslope” effect can transform a day from cool to comfortable. When it happens in July or August, it can make Kansas feel like a blast furnace.

Highs will be approaching or touching 105 the next couple of days in Wichita, and heat index readings are expected to be near 110.

Severe weather threat for Wichita later today

The threat for severe weather today isn’t as high as it was Monday, but forecasters say today is mirroring Monday in at least one key way.

If the clouds linger over the city most of the day, they figure to shield Wichita from the worst of the violent weather that is possible – just like what happened Monday.

“The main threat is hail and some severe winds,” said Jerilyn Billings, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita. “You can’t rule out the possibility of a tornado at this point in time.

“We’re not expecting big, long-track tornadoes. It could be a few brief tornadoes.”

According to a special weather statement issued by the weather service, storms are expected to develop after 3 p.m. today along the dry line and warm front.

Any storm that develops this afternoon and tonight will have a good chance of producing large hail and damaging winds. A brief tornado or two is also possible between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. for locations generally along and southeast of the Kansas Turnpike.

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

Will the wind EVER stop?

Wind-weary Wichitans are asking me why the wind is so much worse this spring than ever before.

But the numbers suggest it isn’t.

April is Wichita’s windiest month, National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Caruso said, and “last year might have actually been slightly windier.”

Today marks the fifth day of the month with average winds of 20 knots, or about 23 mph. Last April, there were 6.

But there were only 4 such days in 2008, 2 in 2007 and 3 in 2006.

Only five days this month have had winds of less than 20 miles an hour, though, so I understand why folks are wondering about the wind.