A powerful, fast moving storm system swept across the Midwest on cue Wednesday afternoon. Wind gusts topping 70 miles per hour were clocked at the Washington County Airport, 86 mph at Beatrice, and sustained winds affected trees and power lines. In anticipation of the event forecast days earlier, some Nebraska schools cancelled classes and activities, while others planned early dismissal. As the system developed, many other schools were forced to announce early dismissal, with nearly all of Wednesday night’s activities postponed.
Delays carried over into Thursday, as power crews worked diligently to restore electricity. The task was aggravated by the scope of the windstorms, extending for the most part statewide. Evergy, on a conference call indicated that some 166,000 Kansas customers were without power, and full restoration for some could be days away. Nemaha Marshall Rural Electric, and Norris Public Power also reported numerous widespread outages, and full damage assessments continue. As of Thursday morning, just isolated power outages remain, and anyone without electric is asked to contact their provider. You can also assist by reporting any downed lines, or poles particularly in rural areas.
Local officials report mostly tree damage, with perhaps some minor structural issues to buildings and such. Some communities and isolated areas were hit harder than others. Early indications were of fairly significant damage in the downtown Wymore area, with some sections blocked to traffic. The roof at Diane’s Dresses was taken off. Some downtown store windows were damaged in Beatrice, and the Adams community was hit hard.
Sporadic tornado reports were noted, with warnings issued for parts of south-central Nebraska, and northeast Kansas. KNDY was without power for over 6 hours, from just after 3:30, until nearly 10 p.m. Wednesday. On a local note, City of Marysville brush dump site is open daily 9 a.m. until dark for disposal of limbs and trees. Washington will begin limb pickup Monday, and ask that they be placed parallel, and as close to the curb as possible, and no longer than 12’. Residents may also haul to the brush dump site across from the campground south of the city shop. Crews continue work, and further details will likely be forthcoming.
Area residents reported a strong smell of smoke throughout the evening, which authorities attributed to grass fires in west central Kansas near Hays, and a report of a grass fire in the Olsburg area.