LIVE BLOG: Torrential rain leads to street flooding throughout Wichita area, severe storm threat subsides

An eventful night for Kansas weather included storms packing a punch with large hail and torrential rain.
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 6:43 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - An eventful night for Kansas weather included storms packing a punch with large hail and torrential rain. There were tornado warnings in Cowley County, but no tornadoes developed from the storms. Large hail, some stones as large as softball sized, were primary threats early with heavy rainfall and flooding being the biggest concerns late.

Late Tuesday night: As storms lessen in intensity, the rain that continues to fall presents challenges across the area. In Wichita, numerous reports of stalled vehicles continue across town. Storm Team 12 Chief Meteorologist Ross Janssen said the threats for large hail are likely over as a few severe thunderstorm warnings continue, including for Sedgwick County.

The current problem is rain falling too hard for storm drains to handle across the Wichita metro. Heavier rainfall rates are reported west in Kingman County and south of Wichita into Derby and Mulvane. There are reports of two to four inches of rain that have already fallen in some places. Widespread rain of three to five or six inches is expected in the Wichita area by Wednesday morning. Storms north and east of Wichita are becoming less intense. More heavy rainfall is possible Wednesday, but the Wichita metro should catch a break with the current system moving out by about midnight.

10 p.m.: There are numerous reports of stalled vehicles as street flooding becomes more of an issue across Wichita. In northern Sedgwick County, efforts continue to restore power to more than 2,000 Evergy customers in Valley Center and north of Kechi. Storm Team 12 reports rainfall amounts could reach up to about three inches in some areas.

9:40 p.m.: Street flooding becomes a larger concern as rain continues to fall in Wichita. The threat for more hail also continues with storms throughout the area, although the severe threat has dialed down. Late into the night and throughout Wednesday morning, storms producing some heavy rainfall will be a threat for a good portion of central/southern Kansas. Rainfall amounts could easily end up between 1-3 inches, with significantly lower amounts in far western and northern Kansas.

9 p.m.: As the severe threat with Tuesday night’s storms tapers off, potential flooding concerns surface with torrential rain continuing in several areas. There are also reports of power outages from the storms, including about 2,000 Evergy customers without power in Valley Center.

8:25 p.m. The tornado warning impacting Cowley County, including the Ark City area, is cleared to expire. This storm produced a wall cloud, but there were not funnels nor a tornado. This storm, continue on a path moving northwest remains dangerous with potentially damaging hail up to about golf-ball sized on the back side of this storm.

8:10 p.m.: A storm producing hail up to about golf-ball sized continues to impact parts of Sedgwick and Harvey counties including Wichita, Derby and Newton. Severe thunderstorm warnings remain in effect for Barber, Pratt, Butler, Harvey, Marion and Sedgwick counties.

7:40 p.m.: A new tornado warning is issued for southwestern and south central Cowley County includes Ark City. There is a report of a wall cloud with this storm and large hail of up to about two inches in diameter. There are also reports of heavy rainfall in several areas including Wellington and hail in downtown Wichita.

7:30 p.m.: Severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect for Sedgwick, Harvey, Elk, Cowley, Chautauqua and Sumner counties. The primary threats with these storms are powerful rain and hail. With this rain, there are flooding concerns in several areas.

7 p.m.: The tornado warning for central portions of Cowley County expired. The rotating wall cloud spotted west of the town of Dexter did not produce a tornado. In portions of Sumner, Cowley and Butler counties, the big story is hail. Stones of about two inches in diameter fell in the El Dorado area. In Belle Plaine, there were reports of hailstones as big as softballs.

As of 6:30 p.m., the biggest concern is a tornado warning in central Cowley County. An area east of Strother Field and just west of Dexter, north of Highway 166 includes a rotating wall cloud, posing the threat of a possible tornado. The tornado threat continues until about 7 p.m.

Elsewhere, large hail is the main impact with storms, including in the El Dorado area in Butler County, in the Winfield area in Cowley County and near Belle Plaine in Sumner County. The largest hail, up to softball-sized has been reported near Belle Plaine.

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