Tornadoes, hail, heavy rain lash southern Kansas

A tornado touches down Monday night near Strother Field in Cowley County.
A tornado touches down Monday night near Strother Field in Cowley County. Courtesy photo

The National Weather Service will conduct damage assessments in southern and southeast Kansas after strong thunderstorms brought tornadoes, large hail and heavy rain to the area Monday night.

Four tornadoes touched down - three of them in Cowley County. No injuries were reported, and preliminary reports suggest minimal structure damage.

Two tornadoes touched down five minutes apart in Cowley County, National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Schminke said. Both tornadoes formed northwest of Arkansas City.

The third Cowley County tornado touched down more than three hours later near Maple City, and the last tornado of the night was reported a half-hour later in Chautauqua County.

Sheds were damaged near Cassoday in Butler County, but Schminke said that was caused by strong winds and not a tornado. Hail as large as baseballs was reported near Scott City in western Kansas and as large as pingpong balls in southeast Kansas.

The thunderstorms that formed packed substantial rain: Chanute set a 24-hour rainfall record, logging 2.96 inches, while Iola recorded 2.34 inches.

In Butler County, 2.85 inches fell in Latham and rainfall amounts of nearly 2 inches were widespread across the county. Eastern Sedgwick County saw similar rainfall amounts, but it tapered dramatically to the west.

While Jabara Airport reported .57 of an inch, Eisenhower National Airport in southwest Wichita logged just .25 - and the western edge of the county barely registered rain at all.

More storms are possible off and on into the weekend, forecasters say.