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Storm knocks out power, brings floods





High winds packed a punch to southwestern Ellis County on Friday evening, taking down approximately 20 power poles and leaving some rural residents without electricity.

While the Hays area did not receive much rain, downpours in the St. Francis area resulted in flash flooding, washing out two county roads.

The likely cause of the Ellis County damage was straight-line winds associated with a storm that also dumped rain in some areas, Ellis County Emergency Manager Bill Ring said Saturday afternoon.

Approximately a dozen power poles on a mile-long stretch of Butterfield Trail were knocked over. This was reported shortly before 7 p.m., and it later was discovered approximately eight additional poles were damaged on Grants Villa Road.

Crews with WaKeeney-based Western Cooperative Electric were on the scene Friday evening, Ring said.

A representative with the company declined comment Saturday afternoon, and did not confirm whether power had been restored to residents near the Ellis/Trego county line.

"It will probably take at least a day because of the number of poles and the amount of wire down," Ring said.

The downed power lines on Butterfield Road crossed the roadway, prompting county officials to barricade the road Friday evening. The road remained closed Saturday afternoon, and a connecting road in Trego County also was closed to through traffic.

The highest precipitation amount reported in northwest Kansas came near St. Francis, reported at 4.6 inches, said Randy Bowers, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Goodland.

There were areas of flash flooding in Cheyenne County at approximately 7 p.m. Friday, with County Road 19 washed out at the intersection of County Road W. A bridge on County Road 15 also was washed out by the floods.

"It was kind of a localized deal," Bowers said of the floods. "There was some pretty heavy rain and resulted in some flash flooding up there."