Winds pelted much of Western Kansas Wednesday and Thursday, with some of the strongest area gusts rushing through Garden City.
A fierce bomb cyclone, brought on by a steep, quick drop in pressure, hit the Midwest this week, sending tornadoes to Kentucky, blizzards to Colorado and flooding conditions in Missouri and Nebraska, to name a few. Over a dozen states in the central United States felt the storm’s outstanding effects.
As a result, western Kansas, Nebraska, eastern Colorado and New Mexico and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles were hit with strong southwesterly and then northwesterly winds, ranging from 55 to 75 mph in southwest Kansas, said Wesley Horvoka, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Dodge City.
Hovorka said winds in Liberal, Johnson City and Syracuse hit about 60 mph and 70 mph in Grant County, climbing to 74 mph in Garden City.
“The strongest winds were actually going from Garden City down to Dodge City,” Hovorka said.
Garden City and Dodge City also reached an atmospheric pressure of 974.6 millibars Wednesday, the lowest surface pressure for either city since 1900, Hovorka. The record low for Kansas is still 971.2 millibars, the NWS said in a Facebook post Thursday.
Gusts blew over a semi truck near Spearville, Hovorka said. But closer to home, the damage was not as severe.
The wind tore down two electrical wire poles in Garden City, one at the corner of Taylor Avenue and Mary Street and another in the 600 block of West Campbell Street, and three residential limbs took down power lines, said Cliff Sonnenberg, City of Garden City electric department superintendent. A failed high voltage switch also caused a half hour electrical outage for several local customers Thursday morning, he said.
On the parks side, damage was surprisingly minimal, an uncommon feat with nearly 75 mph winds, said Garden City Public Grounds Superintendent Andy Liebelt. Only one dead tree fell over and several smaller tree limbs fell “here and there,” he said.
The city likely has a prior storm to thank for the reprieve, Liebelt said. The May 2017 snowstorm weighed heavily on city trees, literally, tearing off weak and strong limbs alike with high winds and large amounts of accumulated snow and ice. With most local trees still considerably thinned, there were fewer branches to be pulled off by this week’s winds, he said.
“We had very little damage for as high of winds as we had” for that extent of time, Sonnenberg said.
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