Storms welcome relief

08/11/2011 12:00 AM

08/11/2011 6:43 AM

A monthlong stretch of hot, steamy weather was broken Wednesday as early-morning storms stomped through the area, causing significant damage in parts of Kansas and cutting power to thousands of area homes and businesses.

The storm left more than 4,000 Westar Energy customers without lights in Wichita, Colwich, Andale and other area towns at one point. Only a handful of outages remained by Wednesday night.

The storms, which carried winds up to 40 mph by the time they reached Wichita, dropped nearly an inch of welcome rain, said Andy Kleinsasser, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita.

And the sweltering heat that beset the Midwest for most of this summer has mercifully inched away, for a while.

The forecast is calling for cooler temperatures throughout the week, with highs in the upper 80s and low 90s.

Our next chance for rain may come tonight into Friday when another complex of storms is expected to move across the region.

More than two dozen utility poles were sheared off in Kingman County, said National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Darmofal. About 30 poles were snapped between Spivey and Norwich, he said, and it would take winds of about 80 mph to do that.

Winds topping 90 mph were reported in Hutchinson and Buhler in Reno County, Darmofal said, and 60 to 80 mph winds were reported in Russell and Barton counties.

Multiple tornado warnings were issued Tuesday night in central Kansas, though no touchdowns were confirmed.

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