By: Kevin Darmofal
Severe storms, with strong damaging winds, developed across central Kansas Thursday afternoon and swept east across south central Kansas and the Flint Hills Thursday evening.
An unusually strong upper level storm system for this late in the Spring affected the central Plains on Thursday. This combined with a very unstable atmosphere and resulted in an outbreak of severe weather from central Kansas into the Flint Hills. While there were tornadoes reported across northern Kansas on Thursday afternoon and evening, the storms across central and south central Kansas produced strong damaging straight-line winds and some large hail. The strongest, damaging winds developed along the leading edge of a squall line, which swept east and northeast across south central Kansas and the Flint Hills Thursday evening. Wind gusts in excess of 80 mph downed power poles and lines and caused sporadic property damage, from Kingman and Harper counties, across southern Sedgwick and Sumner counties.Some of the wind damage was associated with small, mesoscale circulations on the leading edge of the squall line. Image 1 Besides localized, extreme winds, these circulations can also produce short-lived tornadoes. A tornado warning was issued for southeast Sedgwick and northeast Sumner counties shortly after 6 pm. In this case, no tornado touched down, however there were hurricane force winds of 75 to 80 mph in these areas. Image 2 Besides the strong, damaging straight-line winds, there were reports of large hail up to baseball size near Hutchinson on Thursday afternoon, with locally heavy rainfall resulting in some flooding in the Great Bend area, as well as the Arkansas City and Winfield areas Thursday evening.