Finger on the Weather

Tornado touches down near Goddard, National Weather Service confirms

Wichita

A rope tornado was confirmed to be on the ground briefly four miles north-northwest of Goddard at around 8:43 p.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

There were also unconfirmed reports of possible small tornadoes near Andale and Colwich on Wednesday night.

The National Weather Service had received no reports of damage from the Goddard tornado as of 9:45 p.m.

Sedgwick County was under a tornado warning until 9:30 p.m., which was canceled around 9:25, according to the weather service.

A Sedgwick County emergency dispatcher said she was unaware of any damage from the storms in Sedgwick County. The dispatcher also said no one has been reported injured in Sedgwick County.

There was no damage reported in Reno County either, according to emergency dispatchers.

Earlier in the day, the Storm Prediction Center had upgraded Wednesday’s severe weather threat for southeast Kansas – including portions of the Wichita metropolitan area – to moderate.

Derby and points southeast were included in the heightened risk area, which had a 15 percent chance of tornadoes rated EF2 or greater. Wichita was in an “enhanced” risk area, which predicts a 10 percent chance of large tornadoes.

The National Weather Service’s “moderate” risk area covered all of southeast Kansas, along with portions of central Missouri and northern Oklahoma.

A tornado watch was issued for Sedgwick, Butler, Cowley, Harper, Kingman and Sumner counties until midnight.

Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp urged residents to prepare for the possibility of severe weather.

“Help protect your family and property by practicing a plan,” he said.

Families should have a severe weather preparedness kit that includes hard-soled shoes, a change of clothes, necessary medications, important family documents, enough water for three days for each person in the family and nonperishable food.

Crisp said residents should get to a basement if they can during severe weather or go to an interior room with no windows. People should stay away from doors and windows, he said, calling them “a good place to get hurt and a bad place to be.”

Residents should resist the temptation to go sight-seeing or rush to help friends and neighbors who have storm damage, Crisp said. That can block streets that emergency responders need to use to reach damaged areas.

“We understand there’s people that want to go out and help friends, help neighbors,” Crisp said. “Give us an opportunity to get the area secured.”

In some ways, Crisp said, Wednesday’s weather was reminiscent of the April day in 2012 when a tornado struck Oaklawn and portions of south Wichita.

“We do this kind of thing all the time,” he said. “You have a really good emergency response team here in the Wichita.

“We’ve got some experience with that, and we’re prepared to deal with it as it comes.”

Contributing: Matt Riedl of The Eagle

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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