Storms wreak havoc in 2 counties
Storms brought widespread damage and hail last week in both Marion and Chase Counties.
A rural Goessel family got no warning April 19 when what they said was a small tornado blew the roof off their greenhouse and demolished a shed next to it.
Alisha Weiser was preparing dinner on the grill as her son, Luke, puttered in the greenhouse. At 5:30 p.m., wind suddenly roared across the property.
“I was getting sandblasted, so I turned the grill off and went inside the house,” she said. “My son was actually in the greenhouse when it started going crazy.”
Luke was the one who saw a funnel cloud drop down, she said.
She described the storm as brief but powerful wind followed by swirling debris, then more powerful wind.
The twister passed north through the rear of the property, from the greenhouse to the back porch, where Alisha was grilling dinner.
The Weisers watched the storm go north, leaving their property, for as far as they could see.
“We could see debris swirling the whole time,” she said.
The episode was so quick it didn’t dawn on her what she was seeing.
“I didn’t even realize it was a tornado until it was over,” she said.
As soon as the wind stopped, the Weisers cut away what remained of the greenhouse roof.
The Weisers weren’t the only area residents whose property was damaged by tornadoes.
Western Chase County apparently had several tornadoes that evening.
An apparent tornado that struck between Elmdale and Cottonwood Falls damaged property at a ranch there.
Daniel Mushrush, owner of Mushrush Red Angus, said a tornado at 8 p.m. April 19 caused extensive damage to his property and left cattle strung away from where they belonged.
He and others were in pickups and four-wheelers Thursday morning surveying damage and looking for lost cattle.
“We’re trying to find them now,” he said Thursday morning. “We’ve got cattle all over.”
About 200 head of Angus were in the area hit by the tornado, he said.
“I’ve got a couple calves that are injured but I haven’t found any dead yet,” Mushrush said Thursday morning. “The ones we’re more worried about are the young calves.”
His worst damage was on land between Elmdale and Cottonwood Falls, he said.
The damage was not simply to fences and cattle, he said.
“We’ve lost quite a few buildings,” he said.
The buildings were mostly barns, but three houses on the ranch have hail damage to roofs and probably will need to be re-roofed, he said.
“Our hay yard is up on a hill, and we lost our hay,” he said. “We’ll get through it, but it’s going to be a process.”
He found an axel from someone else’s truck in the middle of one of his fields.
National Weather Service in Wichita reported hail three inches in diameter at 7:22 p.m. April 19 four miles east-northeast of Peabody; 1¼ inches at 6:15 p.m. in Durham; one inch at 7:07 a.m. in Peabody, 2½ inches at 8:24 a.m. in Elmdale; and 1¼ inches at 12:29 a.m. five miles east-southeast of Cedar Point.
Wind of 85 mph was reported a mile southeast of Elmdale at 8:30 a.m.
Chase County Sheriff Jacob Welsh said Thursday that county commissioners already had declared a disaster.
“We believe a small tornado went through the heart of Cottonwood Falls,” Welsh said.
Roofs, trees, power lines, and fences were damaged in the city, he said.
He said the sheriff’s office was collecting damage reports from across the county.
“We’re not sure of the total number of tornadoes yet because the National Weather Service is still conducting its survey, but we believe it was multiple,” Welsh said. “We have reports of damage from across the county. Homes, barns, sheds, trees, and power poles have all been reported damaged. Thankfully, only two minor injuries have been reported at this time.”
Last modified April 26, 2023