A severe storm system blew through Ellis County on Tuesday evening with damaging winds and high rain precipitation that caused flooding near Hays early this morning.
Vehicles were stalling near Hays by midnight due to high water and authorities with the county sheriff’s office reported water over roads just 1 mile west of town. More than 2.5 inches of rain was recorded just east of Hays, with 2.3 inches falling to the northwest.
The storm’s high wind gusts — clocking in at 60 mph just west of Hays — also packed a punch. Several power poles were toppled by the wind, with the sheriff’s office reporting several poles damaged by straight-line winds near the intersection of Toulon Avenue and Old U.S. Highway 40. That intersection was closed through midnight.
Midwest Energy utility crews worked through the night to restore power to those affected by the storms. At the height of storm activity, an estimated 2,300 local customers were without power. According to the company’s website, that number had been reduced to just 7 by 9 a.m.
The winds also downed large tree limbs and possibly even knocked over small trees, and there were several reports of metal buildings damaged or destroyed in Ellis County, according to information from the National Weather Service in Dodge City.
A brief tornado was spotted approximately 3 miles north of Bird City just after 6:30 p.m., but it lasted only about 15 seconds, according to information from the National Weather Service in Goodland.
There were two reports of a funnel cloud near St. Francis, where a large tree was uprooted and blocked a roadway.
Hail with a diameter of 3.25 inches pounded Oakley in Logan County, with several reports of significant vehicle damage and stripped trees.
More than 2 inches of rain was recorded approximately 5-½ miles east of Ellis, with areas in Trego County also receiving high rain due to an earlier storm system that hovered over the WaKeeney area late Tuesday afternoon. More than 3 inches of rain was reported approximately 8 miles southwest of WaKeeney.
Nearly 3 inches of rain also fell in Oberlin during a six-hour period Tuesday evening, with the same amount reported near Wheeler in Cheyenne County in just one hour. Wheeler also received 70 mph winds and hail approximately 1.5-inches in diameter, which broke several windows.
The heavy rains prompted flash flood warnings and watches throughout much of the region. In Gove County, both Hackberry Creek and the Smoky Hill River overflowed their banks near the city of Gove.
There is a risk of more severe storms in the next several days, with current forecasts showing a greater chance heading into the weekend.