Tornado touches down in Kansas City area; Wichita escapes worst storms

Watch time-lapse of storm rolling into Wichita

A line of storms, stretching diagonally across Kansas, came through Wichita just after 6 p.m. Wednesday.
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A line of storms, stretching diagonally across Kansas, came through Wichita just after 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Wichita and most of Kansas escaped the worst of nature's wrath on Wednesday, with southern storms delivering welcome rain but only scattered small hail and a couple of weak tornadoes.

At least one tornado touched down in the Kansas City metro area late Wednesday night, west of Belton. For the second day in a row, tornadoes developed near Tescott and Culver in Ottawa County of northern Kansas, but the newest twisters were weak and short-lived.

Time-lapse video of storm clouds sweeping into south-central Kansas Wednesday afternoon. Large hail and high winds were reported as storms raced across the state.

Jake Fine, who tweeted that he was "right in the middle" of the tornado near Tescott, said it was rain-wrapped in its early stages and didn't last long.

Unlike Tuesday, when more than 20 tornadoes were reported across the Sunflower State, few twisters formed Wednesday in Kansas.

"That activity developed into a line so early" it limited storms' ability to produce tornadoes and large hail, said Mick McGuire, a meteorologist with the Wichita branch of the National Weather Service.

A tornado touched down for about two minutes northwest of Cassoday in the Flint Hills of Butler County. Another touched down briefly at I-35 and Beto Junction in Osage County. No damage was reported.

Hail as large as half dollars fell near Nickerson in Reno County, but by the time the squall line reached Wichita the hail was primarily the size of peas and marbles.

The storms delivered about .75 of an inch across the metro area in multiple waves of hard rain.

"I think most people are going to be pretty happy," McGuire said. "Small hail and another beneficial rain - exactly what we needed."

Drone footage shows a storm in Hutchinson, Kansas, on May 2, 2018. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across the state.

The Topeka branch of the weather service will conduct a survey Thursday near Tescott in Ottawa County to confirm whether any damage occurred with the second night's storms.

Earlier damage surveys determined the Tuesday night tornado that moved near Tescott and Minneapolis was an EF-3 with winds as high as 140 miles an hour. The tornado was on the ground for almost half an hour and was nearly half a mile wide.

A tornado that formed in rural Cloud County Tuesday night was rated an EF-1, with winds of up to 105 miles an hour. It was on the ground for a little more than five miles and was as wide as 100 yards.

A second tornado in Cloud County passed north of Aurora and was rated an EF-0 with winds of 80 miles an hour. It was narrow, measuring just 30 yards wide.

More storms are possible on Thursday, McGuire said, but they should fire up east of the Wichita area.