Tornadoes touch down

4/23/2010

BY SHAJIA AHMAD

BY SHAJIA AHMAD

sahmad@gctelegram.com

A string of tornado-producing storms brought damage Thursday across several southwest Kansas counties.

Numerous tornadoes were reported in portions of Kearny, Finney and Scott counties, some of the which were fairly large and caused damage in Kearny and Scott counties during Thursday's early and mid-evening hours.

The public first reported a mile-wide tornado at about 4:40 p.m. west of Lakin in Kearny County. The storm traveled two miles southwest of Lakin at about 5:10 p.m. and was spotted again six miles northwest of Deerfield at about 5:40 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Hail ranging from dime-sized to 2.75 inches came down around the same time within county limits, according to the NWS.

Another thunderstorm at about 5:25 p.m. brought hail as large as 1.75 inches that damaged windows in Stanton County.

Kearny County Undersheriff David Horner said the tornadic storm in his county uprooted trees, damaged farmhouses from wind and hail and caused some power outages at residences west of Lakin. Some state highway roads also were flooded late Thursday night, but those roads were clear this morning, Horner said. No injuries have been reported to the sheriff's office as of this morning, the undersheriff said.

The NWS reported the tornadic storm moved northeast at 35 mph and was spotted eight miles west of Friend in Finney County at about 6:22 p.m. Thursday, and reports of hail about .75 inches in size were reported west of Garden City near Holcomb.

Finney County Emergency Manager Cathy Hernandez said this morning that no damage or injuries were reported. The tornadic activity traveled mostly above open farmland in the very northwest corner of Finney County, she said. Near Shallow Water in Scott County, .75-inch hail was reported just prior to a tornado being spotted about four miles south of Scott City at about 7:10 p.m. Grain bins near Scott City were damaged, a barn partially collapsed with part of its roof torn off and some trees and power lines were reported down, according to the NWS.

Scott County Emergency Manager Larry Turpin said the barn was the only major damage in Scott County. He said he received some reports of flooding in basements of different businesses in town. Lane County law enforcement officials also reported major street flooding in Healy, with almost four feet of water covering downtown streets around the Kansas Highway 4 intersection, according to the NWS.

County Clerk/Information Officer Crysta Torson said the water backed up the sewer systems. She said residents were at first told not to drink the water, but the water, which comes from wells north of Healy, is fine to drink, she added.

She said basements are full of water, and bridges and roads were washed out.

Kansas Highway 4 was closed because it was submerged in water, Torson said, but opened back up this morning.

"It's just a big mess," Torson said.

Earlier Thursday, lightning struck close to Garden City schools at about 2:30 p.m., affecting phones and computer systems in three buildings: Georgia Matthews Elementary School, 111 Johnson St., Garden City High School, 1402 N. Main St., and Abe Hubert Middle School, 1205 A St.

Roy Cessna, public information coordinator for Garden City USD 457, said this morning the district had fixed the problem and the computers and phones "are back up and running this morning."

A record rainfall of .53 inches was also set for April 22 at Garden City Regional Airport.

The old record was .49 inches, set in 1983, according to the NWS.

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