Spring is finally settling in on Lawrence.
On Tuesday afternoon, so were the storms.
A line of strong thunderstorms made its way across much of the northeast part of the state, bringing with it threats of high winds, hail and heavy rain. The National Weather Service in Topeka placed Douglas County and surrounding counties under a severe thunderstorm warning just after 3 p.m., and by 4:20 p.m. rain was falling in the western part of Lawrence.
Strong winds and hail soon followed.
“What unfolded was exactly what we thought we would see,” said 6News Chief Meteorologist Matt Elwell.
Elwell said the storms developed quickly and followed one another closely, adding the possibility for flooding to the system’s list of threats. Lawrence police Sgt. Damon Thomas said none of the roads in town had been reported flooded to the point of being impassable.
The inclement weather caused thousands of Lawrence residents to lose power Tuesday afternoon. Westar Energy spokeswoman Erin La Row said trees near power lines and wind were responsible for the majority of the outages, but lightning was also a factor. More than 3,200 customers reported being without power about 5:30 p.m., and about 50 customers remained without power Tuesday night.
“Our crews are going to work while it’s safe,” La Row said. “They’ll work to restore power to everyone if it’s safe to be out performing their duties. They won’t if it’s not.”
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If you have any photos of the severe weather moving through your area, send them to us.
Downed trees wreaked havoc on power lines and Lawrence roads alike Tuesday afternoon. Residents reported trees falling on their property and other trees fell into roadways, obstructing traffic. A large tree fell across Maine Street near Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Thomas said Tuesday evening that all fallen trees had been moved to make roads passable at the least.
The severe weather Tuesday passed quickly, and Elwell said weather today should be more cooperative. He said a cold air mass is expected to drop colder rain, and temperatures will be below average, most likely in the 50s. The overnight low will drop into the 30s. Temperatures will rebound to more normal levels Thursday.
“What’s amazing to me is that three weeks ago we were talking about 6 to 7 inches of snow,” Elwell said. “This week it’s 80s and thunderstorms. It’s not out of the ordinary, but it’s still pretty amazing.”