Storms leave hundreds in dark

Staff writer

Winds from severe storms Thursday morning may have only lasted a few minutes, but some residents will be cleaning up the damage they left behind for weeks.

Several power lines were blown down near Durham and Tampa. The majority of Durham residents lost power, but it was restored by 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, and nearly 486 residents did not have power restored until Friday evening, said Leonard Allen, communications representative for Westar Energy.

Tampa, Lincolnville, and Lost Springs were without electricity Thursday afternoon.

Wendell Wedel, owner of Main Street Café, said he saw tree limbs down in almost every yard in town when he drove around to inspect the area after the storm.

He said he found several downed power lines, one on Eighth St. near K-15 that closed the road for a few hours. A tree had even fallen on a garage in town.

“I went out to my son’s place and it blew shingles from the roof on the west side and tried to take off the roof on another,” he said. “There was not a lot of tree damage but there was damage to several sheds.”

Before the winds blew, Wedel was preparing for the day at the café and had the back door open to enjoy the cool breeze.

“During the storms the wind came from the west,” Wedel said. “Then it was calm, then it started blowing from the north and just blew and blew!”

An anemometer at his sister’s home registered a gust of 85 mph. The National Weather Service recorded a gust of 72 mph at the Galva airport.

“The whole air was full of leaves,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

He said several members of Morning Star Church outside Durham organized a cleanup.

“They were calling to help before the wind even stopped blowing,” Wedel said.

The National Weather Service received reports of 4-inch tree limbs down near Tampa and a 5-foot tree uprooted and tore down power lines in Durham. Those were a few of several damage reports received by the National Weather Service from the Tampa, Durham, and Lost Springs areas. Pea-sized hail was also reported in Goessel.

The same storm caused a leak at Marion City Library that damaged several books. A lightning strike caused an oil tank battery near the intersection of Limestone and 100th Rds. to catch fire around 6:14 a.m. Thursday.

County emergency manager Randy Frank said he and Peabody Fire Department responded, as well as the Kansas Corporation Commission and the well owners.

Firefighters let the tanks burn out per the owner’s request.

Frank said 25 homes in the county were damaged but still habitable.

Because of the tree damage caused by the storm, Ward Upham, horticulturist at Kansas State University, offered some tips to fix the damage done to foliage.

“If the bark has been split so the cambium, the cell layer underneath the outer and inner bark, is exposed or the main trunk is split, the tree probably will not survive and should be removed,” he said in a press release.

He also said to replace the tree if so many limbs are broken that the tree’s form is destroyed.

Topping, or cutting all the main branches, is not recommended because the new branches don’t grow back as firmly attached as the original and are more likely to break in subsequent storms.

“Prune broken branches to the next larger branch or the truck,” he said. “If cutting back to the trunk, do not cut flush with the trunk but rather at the collar area between the branch and the trunk. Cutting flush with the trunks leaves a much larger wound than cutting at the collar and takes longer to heal.”

For gardens he recommends making sure there is no standing water, and don’t try to bend back leaning plants, they should start to straighten themselves after a few days.

“Plants should recover quickly as long as the leaves only were damaged by the hail as leaves regenerate quickly,” he said. “Plants can recover from a few bruises but if it looks like they were mowed down by a weed whip, it’s time to replant with new ones.”

 

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