Archive for Sunday, April 15, 2001

Storms pelt Douglas County

April 15, 2001

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Severe weather hit the Douglas County area again Saturday night, unleashing heavy rain, hail and high winds that downed trees and power lines and spawned a funnel cloud.

Extreme southern Douglas County was placed under a tornado warning from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. by the National Weather Service.

Marble-sized hail Gives a wintry tint to a road outside. Mike
Beerbower, whose home at 754 E. 1650 Road was hit by hail Saturday,
stood in amazement at Mother Nature's exercise. Storms pummeled the
area much of Saturday evening.

Marble-sized hail Gives a wintry tint to a road outside. Mike Beerbower, whose home at 754 E. 1650 Road was hit by hail Saturday, stood in amazement at Mother Nature's exercise. Storms pummeled the area much of Saturday evening.

Storm spotters called out by Douglas County Emergency Management reported seeing a funnel cloud a few miles west of Baldwin. Sirens were sounded in Baldwin three different times during the warning period, Douglas County Emergency Management Director Paula Phillips said.

The funnel, however, did not touch ground and no damage from it was reported, she said.

"It was pretty close," she said.

That funnel was thought to be forming near Overbrook in Osage County. An Osage County Sheriff's dispatcher said he did not believe there was any damage in Overbrook from the storm.

Douglas County remained in a tornado watch until midnight, but most of the severe weather threat appeared to be over by 9:30 p.m., Phillips said.

Hail was reported throughout the area.

Mike Beerbower was leaving Lawrence driving to his home near Vinland on East 1650 Road as the storm struck. When he arrived home, he found about an inch of pea-sized hail on the ground.

"It looks like a snowstorm out here," he said.

A series of violent thunderstorms pounded Douglas and neighboring
counties. Above, a power line lay snapped from a fallen tree limb
Saturday at the corner of Crescent Road and Spencer Drive near the
Kansas University campus.

A series of violent thunderstorms pounded Douglas and neighboring counties. Above, a power line lay snapped from a fallen tree limb Saturday at the corner of Crescent Road and Spencer Drive near the Kansas University campus.

Beerbower's wife, Michelle, had taken their two young daughters into the basement for shelter when the tornado warning was issued, he said.

Wind speeds of 55 to 60 mph were reported to Emergency Management from spotters throughout the county, Phillips said.

Several power lines were reported down throughout Lawrence. Fire trucks with Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical blocked traffic from the 1100 and 1200 blocks of East 23rd Street because of downed lines. A light pole was blown down near Ninth and Louisiana streets.

Trees and limbs were also down throughout Lawrence.

A second round of storms hit the area about 9 p.m. An inch of hail fell near Lecompton at Linda Merchant's residence, 652 N. 2050 Road, she said.

"Our balcony is completely in ice," she said.

She estimated the hail to be about 2 inches in diameter.

"We got some really good pings on the truck," she said.

Wind tore down the guttering on her residence, she said.

As many as 6,000 KPL customers were without power as a result of lightning and downed power lines, KPL spokesman Mark Schreiber said. By 11 p.m. power had been restored to all but 1,000, he said.

"It was pretty scattered throughout Lawrence, but the central and southeast areas may have been hit the hardest," he said.

A rain gauge at Sunflower Cablevision measured 1.41 inches of precipitation for the day, though heavy rains about 8 p.m. resulted in some curb-to-curb rivers on Lawrence streets.

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