Storm leaves trees damaged, power outages in its wake

Friday, August 17, 2018

t swept through Fort Scott and other parts of Bourbon County damaged trees and caused scattered, widespread power outages throughout the area.

The thunderstorm, which arrived around 7 p.m., coming from the northwest as it moved southeast through the area into Missouri, brought with it heavy rain, hail, damaging winds and lightning. Local law enforcement and fire officials reported downed trees and limbs and power outages in random areas.

The National Weather Service provides information about watches and warnings to the CodeRed system, which in turn sends those alerts to CodeRed subscribers.

“Plenty of CodeRed notifications were going off,” Bourbon County Emergency Manager William Wallis said Friday. “Overall … it was a little worse than the last one. There was no tornadic weather. It was a lot of straight line weather and some hail.”

A July 19 storm that blew through the county also caused downed trees, scattered power outages and a few vehicle accidents. It brought rain, lightning and heavy winds.

“I was at home when this thing hit,” Wallis said Friday. “It came in from the north, northwest and took out trees.”

Wallis said wind speeds in the storm reached between 55 mph “to over 60 (mph) in some places.”

“There were power outages, moreso than in the last storm,” he said.

Fort Scott Fire Chief Paul Ballou said his department received some calls on rotating clouds that meteorologists would classify as “normal rotation.” He said Doppler radar picks up heavy rotation of clouds that lead to tornado watches and warnings.

Flash flood warnings were issued in the county after the severe thunderstorms began to dissipate late Thursday. Wallis said the area received about one inch to an inch and a half of rain.

“This is what happens when we have really dry weather and all of a sudden we get all this rain that saturates the leaves and causes limb breakage,” he said. “A lot of these older trees that are dry with lots of branches, it basically absorbs the weight.”

Wallis said along with the scattered power outages to homes and businesses, there were “random outages to the traffic lights” at various intersections in Fort Scott. He said he talked with the National Weather Service about the storm Friday morning, as the NWS records rainfall and wind speeds.

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