Strong storms cause damage
Marion residents were reminded again Sunday evening of the sudden and sometimes brutal weather possible in central Kansas.
As families were preparing for the evening, some sitting down for a Sunday supper, three storm cells moved through Marion County.
According to Michele Abbott, Marion County Emergency Manager, the first one went through the Burns area, followed by storms that made two more swipes at the county. Abbott said there were 20 buildings with roofs gone, some partially collapsed.
Power poles were snapped like toothpicks on Remington Road near 140th.
Marion County road crews were out early Monday morning, setting barriers for some roads that were flooded and clearing trees and debris from roadways.
In visible lines of damages, Abbott said it has not yet been determined if there were tornadoes or a straight-line wind that caused mayhem.
National Weather Service was to visit Marion County this week to determine if there was rotation.
The list of damaged properties is long and includes primarily outbuildings and trees with some houses and vehicles.
Some of the worst damage was reported at the K.C. and Lisa Jost residence, 1383 140th, southwest of Marion.
According to Lisa Jost, the family was preparing to eat supper when the electricity went off.
“We didn’t know what was going on outside until the wind blew open the front door,” she said. “It looked like a hurricane.”
The family quickly went to a cellar. Shortly after, they heard sounds of metal twisting, boards breaking, and a “popping” noise.
“We about drowned in the cellar,” Jost said. With the wind or tornado, the house had shifted on the foundation, breaking pipes, and causing water to flood the cellar where the family had taken refuge.
When they emerged from the cellar, they saw the destruction. Within minutes, neighbors and family arrived to help them. A generator was brought to save a freezer of meat.
With the light of Monday morning, the amount of damage was realized.
In all, four buildings were damaged were destroyed. The south wall of a large, metal, equipment shed was blown into the building’s interior.
The roof of a hay barn with equipment was mangled with pieces blown up to the house and covered a deck.
A third building was partially dismantled with metal and wood strewn on the property. A fourth building suffered minor damage.
“It’s pretty amazing that our horses weren’t hurt,” Jost said. None was hurt or lost. Unfortunately, the family did lose six puppies.
Two vehicles were believed to be a total loss with damage reported to other vehicles on the property at the time of the storm.
The family is appreciative to those who have helped them, including Flint Hills Rural Electric Cooperative employees who restored electricity to the house Monday morning.
Jost said her family calls her a “tornado magnet” because she has been involved or near several tornadoes including one that went over her houses in Moundridge and Hesston.
When asked if Jost could “hear” the storm coming, she said “no.”
“I never heard a train sound. The electricity went out, the front door opened, and we could see something coming,” she said.
In the northern part of the county, residents reported much of the same.
Mrs. Walter Bartel near Lehigh reported strong winds, heavy rain, and hail.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to salvage anything out of my garden,” she said.
Bob and Jeanette Bina live at 2725 280th, Lincolnville. They lost a large, brick barn. Neighbors and Mennonite aide workers helped with the cleanup.
Dale and Shawn Geis, 2209 N. Remington, Marion, reported damage to their property, primarily a 60-by-60-foot barn was a total loss.
Tim Jirak, Flint Hills RECA foreman at the Hillsboro office, reported 15 poles and numerous lines were down from Marion Reservoir to southwest of Hillsboro.
Linemen began working at 4 p.m. Sunday and had service to their customers by 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Marion residents reported strong winds, limbs, and a couple of hours without electricity Sunday evening.
Without electricity, the city’s tornado warning sirens did not work, so law enforcement and volunteer firefighters drove the streets, alerting people of the tornado warning and to take shelter.
The brunt of the storm bypassed Hillsboro, Ramona, Tampa, Durham, and Peabody, even though damage was reported in Walton.
Rainfall totals varied with 1.5 inches falling near Lincolnville and nearly five inches by Tampa.
Other notable damage was reported by James Loewen, 1446 Limestone, where his house was damaged.
Residents reported damage to outbuildings on 110th, 120th, 150th, 280th, and a business on Commercial Drive in Marion Business Park.
With several months of spring and summer weather still ahead, county residents may have to brace themselves for a stormy season.