Needed rain brings hail, strong wind
About two inches of needed rain fell in the Baldwin City area Monday night. But it brought with it damaging wind and hail that anybody could have done without.
All Baldwin City residents were without power from about 11 p.m. until shortly after midnight because Kansas City Power & Light lost its feed to the area. Some residents were without power a few hours longer because tree limbs broke power lines in the 200 block of Dearborn and Chapel Streets.
A crew of three city employees worked past 3 a.m. to restore power to all residents.
The hour-long hail storm from about 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with ice pellets the size of marbles and golf balls put dents in vehicles and activities.
During a hail-free moment in the storm, a "car check" break was called at the Baldwin school board meeting where the metal roof of the district office made the hail sound like the size of watermelons.
"It's like we are in a war zone," said Connie Wright, principal at Baldwin Junior High School, as the hail was thundering down.
As for the wind, clocked as strong as 60 mph, it cut a swath of damage mostly in the country, but also sent limbs and tons of leaves and other debris flying in town. Dee Poindexter, who has lived near U.S. Highway 59 south of the Baldwin Junction for 50 years, said the wind was tornado-like near his home.
"We had a little tornado or high winds that that just took a strip of trees out," said Poindexter. "It took out some pretty good trees. We were at home at the time and it was rocking the place. We had hail, too."
Although there were no confirmed sightings of tornadoes in the area, he's not so sure.
"We've had lots of strong winds before, but nothing like this," said Poindexter.
Roger Arnold of Baldwin Insurance was surprised that there weren't more reports of damage by mid afternoon Tuesday, but he's expecting them to filter in.
"It's a lot less than I expected," said Arnold. "It happened in the dark and then people left this morning in the dark and didn't see damage. They'll find it when they get home and reports will trickle in.
"The reports I have are the worst of it was south of town, starting near Worden and on to Wellsville. It was the high wind mainly that's bringing the reports with garages and other buildings down," he said.
Wellsville was also the site of a weather-related cancellation. The Baldwin High School junior varsity football team was to have played Wellsville at home at 4:30 p.m. But, because of the 100 degree heat, school officials decided to move the game to 7 p.m. at Wellsville where there are lights on the field. However, the thunderstorm forced the game to be canceled. It's doubtful it will be rescheduled.
The rain, the first of any consequence for more than a month, wasn't enough to end the burning ban in both Douglas County and Baldwin City. Fire officials are maintaining the "no burning at all" stance that was in place prior to the rain.
Rain reports included 2.1 inches north of town at Signal Oak, 1.6 inches a mile west of there and 2.2 inches in Baldwin City.