High Wind/Flooding Event in Northwest Kansas - August 26, 2002

Pictured below are some photos taken by Dave Floyd-WCM, and Brad Schick-ET, of damage and flooding resulting from the storm that battered the area.

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Flooding in Atwood, KS

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Flooding in Atwood, KS

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Flooding in Atwood, KS

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Toppled grain dryer in Kanorado, KS

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Tree damage in Kanorado, KS

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Tree damage in Kanorado, KS

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15 railroad cars in Wallace, KS blown over by straight-line winds

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15 railroad cars in Wallace, KS blown over by straight-line winds

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Airport hanger heavily damaged south of Sharon Springs, KS

Leading edge of storm complex, looking NW from 4 miles west of Goodland. Winds were clocked at 96 mph in the area to the left of the sunflower processing plant seen in the center if the picture. (Photo courtesy of Denise Floyd).



During the early afternoon hours on Monday, August 26th, thunderstorms developed rapidly along a thunderstorm outflow boundary in Dundy and Hitchcock counties in SW Nebraska. The storms quickly intensified to severe levels, with the first report of large hail occurring at 140 pm MDT in SE Dundy County. During the next 30 minutes, reports of softball-size hail (4" diameter), 87 mph winds and a tornado were received. For the next six hours, a small cluster of thunderstorms approximately two counties wide continued to produce violent weather across western Kansas as the storms moved south at speeds ranging from 5 mph on the eastern extent of the cluster, to 50 mph on the western extent.

The western edge of the thunderstorms stretched to the Kansas-Colorado border, where the strongest straight-line wind reports were received. A 91 mph wind gust was reported at the Bird City airport in Cheyenne County, KS at 311 pm MDT, and a 96 mph gust from the north was measured by the public 4 miles east of Kanorado in Sherman County, KS at 450 pm MDT. Other wind reports over 70 mph were received from Kit Carson and Cheyenne counties in eastern Colorado, and also in Wallace county, KS.

Further east, much slower storm movement resulted in flash flooding across Rawlins, Thomas and Logan counties in Kansas. The city of Colby closed roads for a few hours which were made temporarily impassible due to high water and debris. Minor wind damage was also reported in Colby. Both forks of Beaver Creek rose rapidly in Rawlins county Monday evening where rainfall over 6 inches fell in a several hour period. Flood warnings were issued Monday evening and were continued through Tuesday with flooding reported in many areas of Atwood.

Brief tornado touchdowns were reported by the public northeast of Benkleman, NE, northeast of St Francis, KS, south of Wheeler and north of Kanorado, KS. Little damage apparently occurred with the touchdowns over open county.

Some highlights across the region include:

Kanorado, Kansas (SW Sherman County): Significant and widespread tree damage occurred throughout town. A grain dryer broke loose from a grain elevator and toppled into an electric pole, which cut power to the town for three hours. Portions of roofs were removed from an abandoned school, and from a downtown business. Several people reported seeing a brief tornado to the north of town as the storm approached, however, the damage pattern throughout town indicated a straight-line wind event in Kanorado itself.

Sharon Springs, Kansas (Wallace County): Significant damage occurred to 3 hangars at the airport, and approximately 10 power poles were blown down one-half mile north of the airport. All debris was blown to the southwest, with structural damage occurring on the east and northeast sides of the buildings indicating an intense straight-line wind event. In town, numerous windows were broken on the north sides of buildings, and mostly minor tree damage was noted. Baseball-size hail (2.75" diameter) was reported several miles east of Sharon Springs.

Wallace, Kansas (Wallace County): Fifteen railroad cars were blown over. The cars were empty, with a posted weight of 31 tons each. Nearby, two large grain bins were heavily damaged and pushed over to the south. Widespread tree and limb damage occurred in town, and numerous windows were broken.

Other notable damage:

Dundy County, Nebraska: 87 mph wind gust, roof and window damage to homes. Flooding with water over many roadways.

Hitchcock County, Nebraska: House roof damage, numerous windows damaged, fuel tank blown over.

Rawlins County, Kansas: Several power lines down, two semis blown over west of Atwood.

Sherman County, Kansas: Shed destroyed, barn damaged, car windows broken on I-70.


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