Deadly High Winds Strike Western Kansas

(story and images by WCM  Jeff Hutton)

During the late afternoon hours on Monday, August 20th, intense thunderstorms produced widespread high winds across parts of Scott, Lane, Finney and Haskell counties.  Sadly, one of the storms produced a downburst that generated wind speeds of about 85 mph that destroyed a mobile home killing a 93 year old woman in Garden City.

Radar at 610 PM
Radar image showing the storm over Holcomb at about 610 PM

Trailer house destroyed - 1 fatality

trailer house - 1 fatality - looking northwest

The same downburst caused other damage nearby, destroying an adjacent mobile home that was unoccupied at the time. 

unoccupied trailer

unoccupied trailer house

Other downbursts from the severe thunderstorms produced widespread damage in western Garden City and also in Holcomb.  Considerable damage was done to the Holcomb high school, especially to the auditorium and gymnasium roof. Damage may have been as high as one million dollars there.  Wind speeds in this area were estimated to be 90 to100 mph.

Debris from the roof off the Holcomb High School

Debris from the Holcomb High School roof lay on the south side of the building

A pipe emedded and through the wind shield of this car in the Holcomb High School parking lot

Close up of the damage to a car in the Holcomb High School parking lot

Part of a roof off a building on Jones avenue between Garden City and Holcolmb

The same storm produced torrential rainfall and large hail.  Corn in the area was stripped up.

A corn field near Holcomb damage by high wind and hail

As the storm complex rolled on south it produced considerable damage along its path, taking out many sprinkler irrigation pivots, power poles, trees and quite a bit of damage to the Sunflower Electric Power Corp. plant south of Holcomb.  Damage may have been close to a million dollars there too.  Other pivot sprinklers and damage to some mobile homes occurred on into Haskell county.

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