Archive for Thursday, March 28, 1991


March 28, 1991


As if pelting Lawrence with hail Tuesday wasn't enough, Mother Nature sent winds clocked as high as 80 mph through town Wednesday.

In their wake, the winds left a path of uprooted trees, disrupted utility service, broken windows and wayward roof shingles.

The damage added to the estimated millions caused by a hailstorm late Tuesday afternoon.

Brad Boots of the Kansas University Weather Service said winds of 40-50 mph blasted the city during the morning and early afternoon hours and a maximum gust of 80 mph was recorded at 11 a.m.

The temperature fell nearly 30 degrees in four hours Wednesday, from 64 at 10 a.m. to 36 at 2 p.m.

Steve Kays, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, said the high winds and cold temperatures resulted from a front that moved in from the Rocky Mountains, blew across western Kansas and raced on to Missouri. He said the same system has caused all the severe weather this week.

KAYS SAID cold temperatures are expected through the weekend, but warmer, spring-like weather should be back on Monday.

In the meantime, local companies are attempting to get back on track.

Debbie Butler, dispatcher for Sunflower Cablevision, said she received about 27 calls Wednesday and still was answering calls this morning from people whose cable lines were blown loose from house connections. Two callers said the lines were completely ripped out of their houses, she said.

Electrical service to about 1,800 customers was interrupted when two substation feeders malfunctioned because of the high winds, said Carl Faulk, regional general foreman for KPL Gas Service. "We did have quite a bit of problems," he said.

WINDS KNOCKED down eight utility poles, broke tree limbs and scattered debris, all resulting in fallen electric lines, Faulk said.

Local repairs were slowed when the Lawrence office sent three workers and two trucks to assist in Emporia, where strong winds downed about 70 utility poles, he said. However, full service was restored to Lawrence customers by around 6:30 p.m.

Mike Scott, area manager of community relations for Southwestern Bell, said his office received about 100 reports of trouble with telephone service since hail and high winds assaulted the city.

"Yesterday's windstorm just compounded a few of the problems left over from the hailstorm," he said. "We're going to work on it all day today."

LAWRENCE firefighters responded to two reports of damaged power lines caused by the wind.

Firefighters were called at 10:19 a.m. to the 1200 block of Oread after a tree fell on a power line, which snapped and was sparking in another tree near continuing education buildings at Kansas University.

Firefighters evacuated the buildings and cleared the area until KPL Gas Service officials arrived to cut power to the line. No injuries were reported.

At 10:20 a.m. firefighters were called to deal with another downed power line that was in the street near Third and Perry streets. KPL officials cut power to the line. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters also cleared glass at 11 a.m. from a triplex at 1114 W. 29th Ter., which sustained a broken storm window from high winds.

WEDNESDAY'S winds also blew the roof off a mobile home about 9 a.m. about two miles south of Lawrence.

No one was injured, and damage to the mobile home was unknown, Douglas County sheriff's officers reported.

Bob Zimmerman, owner of Coast to Coast Hardware, 1832 Mass., said Tuesday's hail and Wednesday's wind worked together to break two windows at the store.

"I think the hail put a nick or a crack in them, and then the wind helped it along," he said.

Strong winds finally shattered the windows and destroyed a large set of Venetian blinds Wednesday morning.

Several Lawrence restaurants lost neon signs and decorative outdoor lights to the storm. J.R. Sutton, manager of Molly McGees, 2429 Iowa, said a neon door sign was destroyed by hail and wind, and the metal roof had a number of leaks.

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