Thunderstorm Causes Damage in McCook
On July 21st 2002, powerful thunderstorms moved across Red Willow county causing widespread wind damage across the city of McCook. These storms were two of many that formed across eastern portions of the Tri State area, although most of the storms that evening were not severe. These storms formed along and ahead of a cold front as it slowly pushed across the area.
Two separate storms affected Red Willow county on the 21st. The first formed at 6:51 p.m. CDT over northern Decatur county and moved northeast into Red Willow. This storm produced quarter size hail and uprooted a tree 11 miles north of Oberlin and caused wind damage to trees in the community of Herndon. This storm began to weaken as it moved into Red Willow county, but still produced dime size hail 12 miles south of McCook. At 818 p.m. CDT, a second, stronger storm formed over southern Red Willow county and began to move to the northeast. At approximately 8:50 p.m. CDT the storm passed over McCook. A storm spotter located just north of McCook estimated winds gusting to 60 mph and dime size hail with this storm. In McCook widespread wind damage was reported by local law enforcement. Officers reported widespread tree damage, power lines blown down, a roof that was blown off a house, and a ferris wheel that was damaged by the winds. An official measurement of the wind speed was not available, as the automated sensor located at the McCook airport lost power during the storm.
These storms also produced locally heavy rains across much of the eastern Tri State area. Low land flooding was reported in northeast Rawlins county, in Red Willow county along Highway 34 between McCook and Bartley, and in the community of Colby. Some areas received as much as 3 inches of rain with these storms.