When Mike Perkins hears about slight chances of isolated showers or thunderstorms popping up this weekend, forgive him if he’s a little more focused this time around.
Driving into Wednesday’s unexpected black wall of weather will do that to a guy.
“It was not a 20 mph wind,” said Perkins, who had been on his way to check a job site in Lecompton when the temperature dipped, wind whipped up and precipitation changed his normally casual outlook. “I was out in it. It was raining so dang hard you had to pull over and stop. I got caught.”
The brief storm — which moved into Douglas County from the north, as part of a line that also wreaked havoc in Ottawa, before giving way to a bright sky for the afternoon — managed to uproot trees, topple a few power lines and shred dozens of tree limbs and corn stalks in the Stull and Lone Star areas of western and southwestern Douglas County.
Perkins, the county’s operations division manager for public works, saw the damage firsthand, including a half-dozen or so 30- and 40-foot-tall trees ripped out of the ground near Stull, plus a few more at Lone Star Lake. His crews have been busy this week clearing debris from roads and roadsides at the lake, having already repaired nearby road signs that were bent over by the especially swift rebuke from Mother Nature.
“It takes some serious wind to make that happen,” he said.
The National Weather Service forecasts a slight chance of thunderstorms todaySaturday in the Lawrence area. Similar conditions — a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms — also is forecast for Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday.
Perkins figures he won’t be the only one with a closer eye on the sky.
“Folks will be more aware,” he said.