Finger on the Weather

Tornado forms near Winfield, thousands without electricity

Strong winds snapped power poles and left thousands without electricity in parts of the Wichita area Saturday night.

A brief, rain-wrapped tornado was reported five miles east of Winfield in Cowley County at 6:40 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, but damage was limited to some trees.

More than 2,000 Westar customers were without electricity early Saturday evening in and just west of Hutchinson in Reno County, according to Westar Energy. Another 2,000 people lost power in Arkansas City after strong winds and heavy rain moved through, and storms knocked out power to the entire city of Anthony, officials said.

The strong winds in and near Arkansas City snapped off at least 25 power poles northwest of the city, officials said. Several utility poles were snapped off at U.S. 54 and K-14 in Kingman County.

Winds of 68 miles an hour were reported in Hutchinson, with hail as large as half-dollars and golf balls reported at various locations.

Waves of thunderstorms were expected to continue to bring spells of heavy rain, large hail and strong winds to the region into Sunday morning, forecasters said.

Wichita missed the opening round of storms, which brought more than five inches of rain to Humboldt and four inches to Erie in southeast Kansas. Rainfall totals of more than two inches were common along and east of the Flint Hills, according to the weather service.

The morning storms delivered just .08 of an inch to east Wichita Saturday, before a brief, heavy shower not long after 4 p.m. signaled the next round of thunderstorms.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger

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