By Bruce Dierking – KNDY News
Story Updated at 5:04 P.M.
A powerful storm rumbled down Kansas Highway 9 early Wednesday morning, around 6 a.m. The Linn community was perhaps hardest hit, some terming wider spread damage more significant than the Memorial Day tornado that struck the community late May, with the worst damage at that time confined to the school area. The Linn community was closed to traffic much of the day with numerous downed power lines and trees, and significant damage to homes, businesses throughout town, and outlying farms.
Authorities report no personal injuries. It is not believed that a tornado was involved, but strong straight-line winds were noted, with gusts approaching 100 mph.
The Linn nursing home is open with generator power for any residents that need air conditioning, cell phone charging, or assistance with medications, as power may be off for many until later this evening. Status of the Linn Picnic, which was scheduled to begin Friday, continuing Saturday is yet to be determined, with a meeting planned later today.
Greenleaf also took a hit, a grain storage facility at Barnes was reportedly damaged, and storm sirens were sounded in Waterville as the storm approached, on account of high winds threatening. Waterville and Blue Rapids were next in line, with as much as 2.5” of rain in Blue Rapids, which has seen high water since spring from Tuttle Creek backup. Street flooding was reported, and county fair officials were assessing any damage to buildings on the fairgrounds as the creek through Riverside Park overflowed. Water was reported up to Floral Hall and the 4H exhibit building.
Downed trees and power lines were substantial all along Kansas Highway 9, with the Frankfort and Marysville substations both affected. As of mid-day Wednesday, Nemaha Marshall REA reported nearly 100 patrons were still without power, and Westar crews continued work as well. Bluestem Electric Cooperative continued finding downed poles in the Palmer, Linn, Greenleaf, and Cottage Hill areas as repair work was underway. Westar advised that nearly 1,300 customers lost electricity in the Blue Rapids and Frankfort communities alone. A stretch of highway K-9 was closed for several hours near Frankfort with downed trees and power lines. That has since been re-opened.
Washington County Landfill advises that they will accept storm related debris daily from 8:15 – 4:15 free of charge until further notice. You will be asked to provide name and address, and debris must be storm related. Those residents experiencing a specific need due to loss of power are advised to contact emergency management directly at (785) 541-0212.
As the activity continued tracking east, the National Weather Service did issue a tornado warning for southern Nemaha county at about 7:30 a.m. prompted by a radar indicated tornado, although no sightings were reported, and no initial damage has been received.