Finger on the Weather

Westar: Power may not be fully restored in Wichita until noon Friday

It may be noon on Friday before all Westar Energy customers who had their power knocked out by Thursday night’s storms will see service restored, officials for the utility reported.

Winds of at least 60 miles an hour flattened trees in southern portions of the Wichita metropolitan area, and torrential rains caused street and road flooding as the remnants of Hurricane Newton collided with a strong low-pressure system lingering in the Sunflower State.

Rainfall rates of between 1 and 2 inches per hour were widespread just south of Wichita, according to storm reports compiled by the National Weather Service. Wichita’s official rainfall total as of 9:30 p.m. Thursday was 2.16 inches, with more rain likely overnight.

The weather service has issued a flash flood watch for more than a half-dozen counties in central and southern Kansas until Saturday morning. Wichita is included in the watch area.

The watch is currently scheduled to expire at 10 a.m. Saturday. Counties included in the watch are Sedgwick, Harvey, Butler, Chase, Marion, Greenwood, Woodson and Allen.

More heavy rain is expected overnight through the region, weather officials said.

“Rainfall rates between 2 and 3 inches per hour will be likely with the stronger showers and storms, likely producing pockets of flash flooding,” the flash flood watch statement said.

Heavy rain also fell in the Flint Hills, prompting flash flood warnings Thursday night along the Kansas Turnpike. Between 5 and 7 inches of rain had fallen in the same region earlier this week.

The weather service urged residents to monitor statements and conditions as Friday unfolds and avoid flooded roadways.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger

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