Kansans clean up after storms bring large hail, torrential rain

Published: Jun. 19, 2018 at 10:43 AM CDT
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Wednesday P.M.

The day after strong storms tore through parts of western and north central Kansas, cleanup began in areas hit the hardest. Scott City saw the worst of flooding from the storms and Oakley saw some of the worst hail damage with softball-sized hail reported.

In Scott City, more than seven inches of rain fell within a few hours. It left street flooding and damaged some properties. Among those cleaning up Wednesday was the Casselman family whose belongings floated inside their storage shed.

"Everything was just floating. It was at least three inches of water on the ground," Lalani Casselman says. "So I grabbed like baby boxes of my kid's pictures at least. And like, my Barbies."

Lalani has been collecting those Barbies for 30 years.

Some of the items the Casselman's lost due to flooding include photos, clothes and tools. But despite getting more than half of a foot of rain Tuesday night, the family's home wasn't flooded.

Scott County's emergency manager reports a few road closures, but says there was no major damage.

In Oakley, large hailstones damaged several cars. Oakley resident John Strutt is one of those left to repair or replace car windows and windshields.

"Looks like somebody hit it with a baseball bat," he says.

Strutt says he thinks it'll cost about $1,000 to fix his vehicles, but he may hold off on getting the repairs done until storm chances pass.


Severe storms across western and north central Kansas left their mark on several communities with large hail, torrential rain and powerful winds. The aftermath included street flooding in Scott City and the WaKeeney area in Trego County, hail damage in Oakley and power outages in the Hays area.

Storm chances come to south central Kansas early Wednesday morning, but the intensity won't likely match what hit areas in the west. Following the early-morning storms, another round of showers could come to the Wichita area Wednesday evening.

You can follow the progress from Tuesday's active weather day in Kansas as storms fired up, intensified and moved across the state with the updates below.

Wednesday A.M.

Folks in Hays are picking up debris from last night's storms. That storm also left nearly 150 customers in the dark. The power was restored overnight.

In Scott City, residents had drenching rain. Parts of the city flooded after nearly five and a half inches of rain fell. There were reports of stalled vehicles around town and basement flooding, but no injuries.

The town of Oakley saw damage from large hail. Some windows were broken and tree limbs knocked down. Some of that hail was as large as baseballs.

10 p.m.

The line of storms from southwest to north central Kansas comes with a primary threat of strong winds. Storm Team 12 reports gusts of more than 70 mph with storms moving southeast.

Moving to the southeast at about 60 mph, storms could impact the La Crosse area by 10:30 p.m., Russell by 10:45 and Larned a little before 11 p.m. Heavy rainfall and that potentially-damaging wind are the primary concerns.

Additional thunderstorms in the Salina area also come with strong winds with gusts of about 70 mph. These storms are also moving southeast. Counties across western Kansas east to north central Kansas remain in a thunderstorm watch until 11 p.m.

A thunderstorm watch including south central Kansas is in effect until 5 a.m. Wednesday. The watch includes the Hutchinson and Wichita areas. That strong wind and rain are the main players.

A cool down continues Wednesday with the early storms following chances for evening showers.


9:30 p.m.

The tornado threat has diminished as Tuesday evening rolls into night. What does remain in effect are thunderstorm warnings and flash flood warnings for several counties stretching from west to north central Kansas.

Some of the most notable events from Tuesday's storms included at least one brief tornado near Bird City in Cheyenne County, street flooding in Scott City and large hail up to softball-sized in Oakley in Logan County.

That Oakley hail left damage to structures and vehicles, primarily in the form of busting out windows and windshields.

In Scott City, more than five inches of rain fell in about a three-hour window.

Farther east, strong winds blew and torrential rain also fell in Trego County and in the Hays area in Ellis County. This has come with reports of down tree limbs and power lines.


8:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service says confirms a brief tornado touched down in Bird City Tuesday evening.

The NWS says the tornado was only on the ground for 15 seconds.

It touched down 2.75 miles north of Bird City in Cheyenne County.


8:17 p.m.

Severe thunderstorm warnings continue to pop-up across western Kansas while a tornado watch for has been canceled for eastern Colorado.

A severe thunderstorm remains stationary over the eastern part of Morton County. Current reports include water over the road at Country Road and 22 Road in Morton County. The warning remains in effect until 9 p.m.

Large hail, damaging winds and heavy rainfall continue to be the main threats with these storms.

The Ellis County Sheriff's Office shared photos to its Facebook page showing power poles that had been blow over by those strong winds. Other damage reports included metal buildings that have been blown down.

According to an outage map on the Midwest Energy website, 2,027 customers are without power.

Straight line wind damage located on Toulon Avenue between Highway 40 and Victoria Road. Travelers are urged to avoid this area due to downed power lines.

Posted by Ellis County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, June 19, 2018


7:40 p.m.

Law enforcement in Cheyenne County reports spotting a tornado about two miles north of Bird City.

A new tornado warning is also issued for Rawlins County and Cheyenne counties until at least 8 p.m.


7:20 p.m.

A tornado warning in Cheyenne County is extended until 7:45 p.m. This warning includes the cities of St. Francis and Bird City.


7:05 p.m.

Just as tornado warnings expire in north central and southwest Kansas, a new warning comes into play for far northwest Kansas in Cheyenne County. This warning includes the city of St. Francis were there were reports of sirens sounding.

There are no reports of a tornado touching down with this storm moving east from eastern Colorado. The storm approaching St. Francis with up to tennis-ball-sized hail is moving east at about 40 mph.


6:30 p.m.

New tornado warnings are issued for Jewell and Smith counties in north central Kansas until at least 7 p.m. The area of rotation with this storm is just north of the state line in southern Nebraska.

The warning is there for Smith and Jewell counties because this storm is heading southeast at about 35 mph.


6:20 p.m.

A tornado warning is issued for Morton County until at least 6:45 p.m. Storms continue to move slowly to the northeast. The area of rotation is well to the east of Elkhart. There is no confirmed tornado on the ground.

TORNADO WARNING: Southeastern Morton County until 6:45 p.m. Radar indicates rotation about 12 miles east of Elkhart, moving to the northeast at about 15 mph. #storm12 #kswx

Posted by Sarah Fletcher on Tuesday, June 19, 2018


6:05 p.m.

Some Oakley residents are preparing for repairs after hailstones measuring the size of softballs fell from the sky Tuesday afternoon.

Reports are that the hail lasted for five minutes.

Viewers sent in photos of damage left behind the hail which included at least one windshield.

Storm Team 12 has a crew headed to town to search for more damage in town.

SOFTBALL-SIZE HAIL is causing problems for some Oakley residents. You've sent us photos of the large hail that lasted...

Posted by KWCH 12 Eyewitness News on Tuesday, June 19, 2018


5 p.m.

Several storms across southwest and west-central Kansas are affiliated with severe thunderstorm warnings.

The main concern as of 5 p.m. is the flash flood warning in Scott County. Radar indicates one to three inches of rain already fell in the Scott City area with heavy rain continuing to fall.

There was also a report of two-inch-in-diameter hail falling in the county.

Reports of more than 5 inches of rain in Scott City tonight.

Posted by Michael Schwanke on Tuesday, June 19, 2018


4:30 p.m.

Severe storm warnings are popping up across western Kansas. Strong storms capable of producing heavy rain, strong winds and hail are impacting the WaKeeney area, back southwest to the Scott City area.

A report of one inch hail was reported near Richfield in far southwest Kansas. Storms in central and north central Kansas are not severe at this point.

All is clear in the Wichita and Hutchinson areas for now and storms may not hit south central Kansas until closer to midnight.

The threat for flooding comes with strong storms in Colorado that gradually are moving east.

Severe storms are firing in western Kansas. Michael Schwanke and Merril Teller update you on the latest timing and track. https://bit.ly/2t9W7xX

Posted by KWCH 12 Eyewitness News on Tuesday, June 19, 2018


4:05 p.m.

Much of western and parts of north-central Kansas are now under a severe thunderstorm watch.

Storm Team 12 says large hail, damaging wind and heavy rain will be the main threats Tuesday night.

Stick with us as we track the timing and intensity as the severe weather begins to fire up near you.


2:30 p.m.

Be prepared for anything and everything.

A tornado watch has been issued for most of eastern Colorado. That could be expanded into parts of western Kansas where Storm Team 12 has already declared a Weather Alert Day.

Thunderstorms are moving to the east over northeast Kansas.

New storms, some severe, will develop this afternoon in the west and spread to the east through the evening and overnight.

Locally heavy rain chances have prompted a flash flood watch for much of northwest and north central Kansas Tuesday night.


11:30 p.m.

Storm Team 12 has issued a Weather Alert Day for western Kansas.

Storm Team 12 Chief Meteorologist Ross Janssen says most of western Kansas and eastern Colorado is under a slight or enhanced risk for severe weather that's expected to fire up after 2 p.m.

Storms are expected to move east into the areas of central and south-central Kansas around 9 or 10 p.m.

Today's storms will bring the potential of isolated tornadoes, hail, wind and flash flooding.

Follow the

app, KWCH-12 and

as our meteorologists continue to track the timing and intensity of the storms.