Purchase photos

Relief, with high winds

6/5/2014

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

That was a most refreshing drink. Noisy, but certainly refreshing.

We'll take another, though.

But perhaps that will be enough to push water in Big Creek over the dam in Ellis.

It already was enough to prompt Ellis County Rural Fire Director Richard Klaus to lift the burn ban.

"We have lifted the burn ban," Klaus said this morning. "At least for a couple weeks."

The ban was lifted as a result of widespread rainfall amounts varied across northwest Kansas, even though Ellis might have a shot at the championship -- with at least four reports of 4.5 inches in the city itself, according to Ellis County Emergency Management director Bill Ring.

While checking in, Ellis County Commissioner Swede Holmgren passed along a report of 5.5 inches a mile and a half north of Ellis.

Runoff from the storm swept into Big Creek.

"The water is almost at the top of the dam at Ellis," Ring said of the reports he received.

Across Hays, it appears rainfall totals stood at nearly 2 inches, although a report from Schoenchen reported just 0.9 of an inch. Ring rushed to Hays just as the storm started sweeping into Ellis County and had difficulty seeing his way because of the heavy rain.

"The closer I got to Hays, it cleared up," he said.

Of course, the storm was accompanied by strong winds that downed limbs more than a foot in diameter in Frontier Park.

Rain and strong winds were fairly widespread across the region, although rainfall totals varied widely.

There was a single report of 4 inches of rain in eastern Trego County, the biggest reported via the online CoCoRaHS precipitation network. In the Riga area west of Ellis, Rodney Werth reported rainfall amounts of 4.75 inches and 5.25 inches.

"Never seen water run like this in our draws," he said in a Facebook posting. "Thank God."

Other rainfall amounts in Trego County ranged from 0.9 of an inch to 1.88 just south of WaKeeney.

Other than downed limbs, there were few preliminary damage reports.

Ring said some power lines were downed -- by falling tree limbs.

Crews from Hays and Ellis County already were out surveying the downed limbs and moving any they found off the roads.

Signs marking construction along Old U.S. Highway 40 were blown over, but Ring said Ellis County crews were already out this morning setting them back up.

The Ness County Sheriff's office reported at least one power line down, but little hail and strong winds.

Rainfall reports also varied there, with 1.5 inches reported, with heavier rains in the Ransom area.

Klaus said the burn ban was lifted because of the rains and will be looked at again if additional rains don't fall in coming weeks.

But he recommended anyone burning to report it first by calling (785) 625-1011.

"Even if they're burning trash, call it in," he said.