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Another powerful thunderstorm pounds south-central Kansas, triggering flooding in Wichita

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, July 23, 2013, at 8:20 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, July 25, 2013, at 6:32 a.m.

Another powerful summer thunderstorm slammed the Wichita area Tuesday night, even as some parts of the state were still cleaning up from Monday’s opening salvo.

Winds estimated at 100 mph were reported shortly before 9 p.m. near Pretty Prairie in southeastern Reno County, and winds of 66 mph were reported at McConnell Air Force Base in east Wichita.

More than 3,000 Westar Energy customers in Sedgwick County were without power as of 9:50 p.m., most of them in downtown Wichita – including Old Town – and southern parts of the city.

Power lines were down around the city, authorities said, and several cars became stranded in high water at Pawnee and Edwards in southwest Wichita.

A Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said so many calls reporting possible fires – perhaps caused by the heavy lightning that pelted the area – were coming in that it wasn’t clear yet how many actual fires there were.

Heavy rain was triggering street flooding around Wichita. The National Weather Service reported that an inch of rain had fallen in 30 minutes at Central and Ridge Road in west Wichita.

A flood warning for southeastern Sedgwick County, including Wichita, was in effect until midnight Tuesday.

An intense thunderstorm packing hail the size of golf balls was pounding Argonia on Tuesday night, little more than 24 hours after what weather officials were calling a microburst struck the Sumner County town.

Monday’s storm stripped portions of the roofs off Argonia’s high school and elementary school as powerful thunderstorms also brought hail and heavy rain to areas south and west of Wichita.

Julie Dolley, superintendent of Argonia Public Schools, said Monday’s storm ripped off the gym’s roof at the high school. The gym’s floor, installed in 2008, will most likely have to be replaced, she said Tuesday.

The elementary school also lost parts of its roof in the storm. Dolley said crews were at the school Tuesday afternoon helping to clean up water damage in the classrooms.

“Parts of the ceiling fell on top of some computers,” Dolley said. “There’s probably minimal damage to the (classroom) material.”

Dolley said the school’s insurance company has told her the district should still be able to start school by the scheduled Aug. 22 start date. However, if the district does need to delay the start date, “it wouldn’t be more than a few days to a week at the most,” she said.

On Tuesday, crews were already beginning to repair the high school gym’s roof, while the district was still looking at bids for the elementary school’s repairs.

Elsewhere on Monday, winds blew over a semi-truck in Kingman County, though the driver escaped with minor injuries.

About a mile of power poles were flattened in Reno County along K-61 three miles northeast of Arlington, and more power poles were down in Milton in Sumner County and Norwich in Kingman County.

Winds of 60 to 70 mph were reported in multiple locations on Monday, including in rural Kingman County, where damage was reported to at least one farmstead.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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