Extreme Winds, Wildfires and Earthquakes Reported Across Kansas


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TOPEKA — High winds Wednesday in Kansas reduced visibility, leading to road closures and power outages across the state.

Alerts from the National Weather Service indicated some areas of the state would experience wind gusts of up to 80 mph. A 100 mph gust was reported in Russell.

Wind gusts and resulting dust storms led the Kansas Department of Transportation to close multiple roads in western Kansas, including Interstate 70 westbound between Salina and the Colorado state line and eastbound between Goodland and Russell. All state routes in Cheyenne, Decatur, Gove, Logan, Rawlins, Sheridan, Sherman, Thomas and Wallace counties were also closed.

The transportation department is updating road closures regularly.

In Shawnee County, Gov. Laura Kelly responded to safety concerns with the high wind speeds by issuing a Declaration of Inclement Weather from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Nonessential state workers under the governor’s authority who are working in person will be sent home.

Reno County Area Transportation also halted Fixed Route Bus service at 2 p.m. in response to a severe thunderstorm warning. Routes may resume service if the weather clears.

Evergy crews are actively responding to power outages caused by the heavy winds, which could last through midnight Wednesday. The electric company advised customers to prepare for potential outages by having flashlights, batteries, water and non-perishable food at the ready. Customers should report any outages to Evergy.

There were also reports of out-of-control wildfires that forced evacuations in Sheridan County and the town of Ellis.

Late Tuesday night and early Wednesday, a series of minor earthquakes ranging from a 2.5 magnitude to 4.0 magnitude hit Saline County. The U.S. Geological Survey reports Wednesday’s tremors were in addition to several small earthquakes in the area over the past seven days.

A 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit central Kansas Dec. 8.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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