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Early taste of severe weather season in KS causes damage, knocks out power

Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 12:21 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 12, 2021 at 5:15 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Storms that popped up in Kansas are bringing a wet start to the weekend and an early taste of severe weather season. Early Friday morning, storms caused some damage in Pratt County and led to some power outages in Wichita. Heading into the weekend, more storms bring possibilities for gusty winds and hail.

About 24 power poles were confirmed down between Pratt and Iuka (about six miles north of Pratt) by Pratt County Emergency Management Friday morning. The poles were located north of Highway 54 and east of 251. Emergency management also said some irrigation systems were flipped over.

Storm Team 12 recorded 65 mph winds in Pratt.

There were no reported injuries.

As rain continued to pour Friday morning, Sedgwick County’s drive-thru vaccine clinic at Wichita’s Transit Operations Center and popular Wichita restaurant, Doo-Dah Diner, lost power due to storms. Doodah Diner had to close its doors early and the vaccine clinic had to temporarily stop.

“We got all closed up and sent everybody home,” said Doo-Dah Diner owner Patrick Shibley.

About 78 miles west of Wichita, some significant storm damage in Pratt was to powerlines. With more storms possible this weekend and an overall severe weather season expected to be more active than last year, Storm Team 12 meteorologists offer tips to prepare.

First, you should make sure you have an efficient way to keep track of area storms if your power goes out. You can download the Storm Team 12 Weather App with your location set and notifications on, or use a weather radio. You need to know your safe place to shelter from a potentially violent storm whether that be in your basement, your cellar or an interior room on the lowest level of your home. In your shelter, you need to have an emergency kit with flashlights, extra batteries, water and snacks..

“Just make sure you have the means to receive emergency notifications should the weather conditions change,” said Sedgwick County Emergency Management Director Julie Stimson. “We could see some hail and some winds with these storms (this weekend), so definitely be alert and be ready to take cover if you need to.”

If you see flood waters, Stimson reminds you not to drive through them.

“Especially in the low line areas that are prone to flooding,” Stimson said. “We’re already starting to see some low-level street flooding. If anyone lives near creeks, streams and rivers, expect water to rise rapidly throughout the weekend.”

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