Powerful KS storms produce large hail, strong winds

A Weather Alert Day issued for Thursday comes with severe storm threats of powerful winds up to 70 mph, large hail and heavy rainfall. An area included in a slight risk for severe weather stretches from eastern Colorado and down into the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, east to central and south central Kansas.

Follow updates below as storms develop and advance below:

10:50 p.m.

Severe weather warnings across Kansas have been allowed to expire.

The town of Wakeeney, in Trego County, was hit hardest by storms Thursday afternoon.

Tennis to baseball size hail smashed windows out of vehicles and buildings. Large stones chipped off siding and brought down signs, fences and other parts of structures around town.

Shane Eagen had to cancel his business trip because the hail totaled out his rental car.

He said he pulled off the highway and into the parking lot of a gas station in hopes of minimizing the damage. The storm moved through the area damaging 90-percent of the vehicles in the parking lot.

Eagen said he's just glad he wasn't hurt.

"Yeah, I mean, I'm not the only one and it sounds like the highway was a little bit worse. So, Im glad I wasn't on the road and hopefully those people were okay," said Eagen.

Pastor Harold DeMoret wasn't so lucky.

He tried to do everything he could to keep heavy rain and golf ball size from getting into Bethany Baptist Church, where he's the pastor.

He ended up being hit in the head by a piece of glass while he tried to protect the church he says took him 36 years to build.

"I got hit by something, I don't know what it is,but it bled like crazy," said DeMoret.

He has a gash on his forehead, but says he's okay. He's more concerned about how he's going to fix the church he spent years building.

"It was almost done. Now, we have to start part of it over," he said.

Storm Team 12 says heavy rainfall is expected to clear out of Kansas by Friday morning. The weekend appears to be clear, but another round of storms is expected to move in Sunday into Monday.

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4:20 p.m.:

Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tod Hileman reports a tornado did strike down in the WaKeeney area, south of I-70 between Cedar Bluff Lake and I-70. Hileman says there are power lines down and tree damage. He says there were four to five crashes in the area, including one injury crash on I-70.

Troopers in Trego County report fog has moved in and visibility is almost zero. People in the area are asked not to stop on the roads and if they have to pull their vehicles over to put on their hazards. Troopers say motorists should not park under overpasses.

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4 p.m.:

The strongest storms in the state are south of Hays. This is the storm that produced tennis-ball-sized hail in WaKeeney, although now, it is showing signs of weakening.

In Ellis County 60-plus mile winds were reported a little after 3:20 p.m. Storms north of Scott City are also weakening. Brief downpours are possible with small hail.

More storms are expected to develop Thursday evening with much of Kansas in a thunderstorm watch. A large chunk of the western and southern parts of the state (including the Wichita area) are in flash flood watches until Friday morning.

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3:15 p.m.:

Tornado warnings for Logan and Trego counties have been allowed to expire, but large hail remains a threat with storms in northwest Kansas. KHP Trooper Tod Hileman advises people to avoid the WaKeeney area until the storm passes. Hileman reports an injury wreck on I-70 near WaKeeney.

Also in WaKeeney, widespread hail damage is reported to vehicles in a parking lot, siding and windows on homes. There are also reports of milo in a field being stripped.


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3 p.m.:

Up-to-baseball-sized hail has been confirmed with a severe thunderstorm in WaKeeney. There are reports of damage with this storm, including broken windows on vehicles and a semi blown over on I-70 near WaKeeney. Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tod Hileman says there is no power in the city.

A severe thunderstorm warning remains in effect for northeast Trego and western Ellis counties. The initial tornado warning for Trego County has been allowed to expire.

A new severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for Gove, Logan and Wichita counties until 4 p.m.

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2:45 p.m.:

A new tornado warning is now in effect in western Logan County until at least 3:15 p.m.

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2:40 p.m.

Damage is reported from a strong thunderstorm that passed through Sheridan County. There are reports of tree damage, a roof coming off of a barn, a grain bin coming down and down power lines near Hoxie.

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2:30 p.m.

A dangerous storm moving into the WaKeeney area includes a tornado warning for Trego County until at least 3 p.m. This storm has not produced a tornado, but is capable of producing hail up to baseball-sized. People in WaKeeney should seek shelter.

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2:10 p.m.

A tornado warning is now in effect for southeast Sheridan County, northeast Gove County and southwest Graham County until at least 2:30 p.m. An area of rotation was spotted about eight miles northeast of Qunter, but there has not been a confirmed tornado.

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1:50 p.m.

A thunderstorm warning for Gove Graham and Sheridan counties is in effect until 2:45 p.m.

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1:40 p.m.

We're receiving reports of damage from severe storms in northwest Kansas. The National Weather Service reports tennis-ball-sized hail near Goodland in Sherman County. There is flash flooding in Thomas County and law enforcement reports a semi tipped over, possibly from hydroplaning on Highway 83.

Storms moving through Sheridan County are capable of producing up to ping-pong-ball-sized hail and winds up to about 65 mph.

All of the severe storm activity in northwest Kansas is moving southeast. For now, this is the only severe weather in the state.

There are showers in southwest Kansas, east of Dodge City. We're expecting more storms to develop in eastern Colorado and move southeast with the chance for storms reaching south central Kansas this evening.

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1 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for the northwest Kansas counties of Decatur, Rawlins, Sheridan and Thomas until at least 1:30 p.m. A storm about 16 miles southeast of Atwood has produced ping pong-ball-sized hail and winds of about 60 mph. This storm is moving southeast at about 20 mph.

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12:20 p.m.:

A severe thunderstorm located over Liberal is moving east at 35 mph. Threats with this storm include 60-mph winds and half-dollar-sized hail.

A severe thunderstorm warning for Seward and Stevens counties are in effect until at least 12:45 p.m. and Rawlins County until at least 1 p.m.

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11 a.m.:

A storm producing wind gusts of about 60 mph and quarter-sized hail is impacting parts of southwest Kansas. A severe thunderstorm warning for south central Hamilton County and Stanton County is in effect until at least 11:15 a.m. The storm kick-starting the warning fired up about 10 miles northwest of Johnson City, moving east at about 25 mph.

Severe weather in south central Kansas is expected later this afternoon or evening.