Area soaked, but wicked weather not really a factor
By NICK SCHWIEN
Dodging a bullet. That's the way some are looking at things following a bout of severe storms Friday night into early Saturday morning in northwest Kansas.
The National Weather Service had predicted the chance for strong storms, some capable of producing large hail and a possible tornado.
What the area got was more high winds, localized heavy rains and a few reports of possible tornadoes.
"We got wind that was stronger than we thought it would be," said Joe Moore, a meteorologist with the NWS in Goodland. "We expected more discreet storms to fire ahead of the system. We had a couple minor spin-ups, but nothing big. We had the tornado watch issued for the entire area we cover."
Moore said the NWS still was in the preliminary process of investigating possible tornadoes near Brewster in Thomas County and Edson in Sherman County.
"We had a report of two, possibly three tornadoes in the Brewster and Edson area," Moore said. "We did get a report from the Sherman County dispatch of some damage in a corn field. But there were no injuries, no buildings destroyed. They were probably on the ground five to eight minutes. There's still a couple of images and reports we're going over, though."
Storms began pushing into northwest Kansas from eastern Colorado. As they moved into Kansas, high winds were the main concern.
"They produced very gusty winds and blowing dust," Moore said. "We had some hail up to golf-ball size."
But there was little rain in the far reaches of northwest Kansas as the storms grew in size. The farther east they went, the heavier rainfall got.
Hail in Wallace County was reported to cover the ground at one point, with the largest size reported at 1.25 inches 3 miles west of Sharon Springs, according to NWS reports.
The NWS office in Goodland received only 0.07 of an inch of rain, one of the smallest reports from the storm.
"People got some pretty heavy rain, especially east of Goodland, though," Moore said.
Winds in excess of 60 mph were reported in portions of Rawlins County. A 67-mph gust was reported 5 miles east-southeast of Gove, and a 65-mph gust was reported 4 miles west of Healy on the edge of Scott County.
As the storms moved east, heavy rain became more prevalent. In Ness County, there were reports of 2.93 inches of rain, according to information reported by CoCoRaHs -- the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.
The southwest corner of Ellis County received the most rain. While widespread precipitation of nearly 1 inch was reported throughout the county, instances of 2.54 inches to 2.77 inches was reported east of U.S. Highway 183 and south of Old U.S. Highway 40.
South of Russell, 2.85 inches was reported. As the storms lost intensity moving east of Russell County, rainfall tapered off.
While the rain might have delayed harvest a bit more in the region, Moore said people could have been dealing with worse circumstances.
"The way conditions were right was that if storms fired ahead of the storms, it could have produced some destructive weather, including tornadoes. We thought it could be another hail event like we had a couple weeks ago," Moore said, referring to a storm that dumped hail up to softball size in northwest Kansas earlier this month.