Area Hit by Severe Wind Storm June 30

By REX ZIMMERMAN

Tornado force winds ripped through Kiowa early Friday morning, June 30, uprooting trees, ripping down limbs and knocking down power poles.

No official estimate has been given for the strength of the straight line winds that moved through the area with a line of thunderstorms just before 1:00 a.m. Friday, but old timers that have lived through many 70-80 mph. storms say this one was worse-much worse.

Kiowa City Administrator Lou Leone, who kept the community informed as well as he could through his Facebook post, reported that 24 power poles had to be replaced in town and on the transmission line heading south to the Burlington substation.

In addition, many electric service lines to individual homes were downed by tree limbs and had to be reconnected.

Power crews and equipment were asked for mutual aid from several surrounding communities to help the Kiowa city workers, and through their tireless efforts power was restored to the entire town by late Friday night. Mr. Leone had noted that without the help of these extra crews, power could have been off for up to five days.

Even the Kansas Dept. of Transportation (KDOT) wasn’t immune from the storm as crews were out Friday replacing broken highway signs and straightening others that had been twisted and bent in the wind.

But Friday’s storm wasn’t without a bit of a silver lining. All throughout Kiowa neighbors showed up to help cut up and haul away trees and limbs. There was a steady flow of trucks and trailers heading to the tree dump east of town, and city workers were on hand to keep it all orderly as the tree pile just grew larger and larger.

Riley Courson showed up in front of a home with a friend Friday afternoon wanting to haul away limbs that had been dragged to curbside. They had been out working all day long just wanting to “help out” in a time of community need. That scene was repeated all over town. Right in the middle of loading up the trailer, Randy Blunk showed up to offer everybody a bottle of cold water.

Churches and other groups got involved to help feed the work crews that arrived in town, and there were many, many other goods deeds done throughout the town. That’s just the way it works in a small, close-knit community.

Clean-up will no doubt continue throughout the week. Special thanks to the Kiowa City crew and all the out-of-town help that got the town back up and running.