Tornado-warned storms brush western Sedgwick County
Numerous tornadoes were reported across Kansas on Friday as severe weather once again erupted in the Sunflower State.
The Storm Prediction Center logged 23 reports as of 9 p.m., though at least some of those will be multiple views of the same tornado.
The first tornado was reported in northern Barber County, northwest of Medicine Lodge, at about 3:50 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. The large cone tornado was heading northeast.
Another tornado was reported four miles northeast of Sawyer in southern Pratt County about 15 minutes later, with tornadoes also spotted seven miles north of Nashville in Kingman County and east of Coats in Pratt County.
Yet another tornado was reported southeast of Pretty Prairie. No damage has been reported.
After a lull in mid-evening, storms strengthened again and tornadoes were reported in the Flint Hills — near Cottonwood Falls in Chase County, west of Dunlap in Morris County and close to Bushong in Lyon County.
Friday was the second consecutive day and third in four days that tornadoes developed in Kansas.
At least seven tornadoes were reported around the state Thursday, though weather officials say all of them were brief and weak.
Roofs were damaged, a lot of trees were blown down, and Salina Speedway sustained “a lot of damage,” said Bernie Botson, deputy director of Saline County Emergency Management.
“The majority, if not all, of the damage was straight-line winds, but it’s hard to prove,” Botson said.
Those winds appeared to be between 80 and 90 miles an hour.
Two tornadoes touched down in Barton County, said Scott Smith, a meteorologist with the Wichita branch of the weather service. Officials have not yet confirmed a report of a brief, rain-wrapped tornado that touched down west of the Salina Airport.
“We’re not tremendously confident” about that tornado being confirmed, Smith said.
Elsewhere in Kansas, at least four other tornadoes occurred, according to Larry Ruthi, meteorologist-in-charge of the weather service office in Dodge City. Those included at least one near Seward in northern Stafford County, another that touched down in Pawnee County west of Larned and moved into Rush County, a third that formed west of Kiowa in Barber County and another that formed not far from Minneola.
There was also radar indication of some short-lived tornadoes elsewhere south of Dodge City — what Ruthi called “brief spin-ups” — but so far there have been no damage reports connected with them.
The sheer number of storms that developed kept any tornadoes from being monsters because the storms were stealing energy from each other, Ruthi said.
“There was so much competition” for the moisture and instability that fuel tornado-producing thunderstorms, he said.