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Lightning strikes tank battery; pickups collide
Severe weather continues
A lightning strike caused a fire on a tank battery south of Ellinwood on Saturday, May 18. Dangerous conditions caused by high water, lightning and high winds are expected to continue for the next couple of days.

A lightning strike on Saturday started a fire on a tank battery south of Ellinwood, and road conditions contributed to a minor injury crash southwest of Great Bend. As severe weather continues this week in Barton County, Sheriff Brian Bellendir advises motorists and the general public to use caution when traveling.

“Most of Barton County is saturated from rainfall and many rural roads have standing water on them,” Bellendir stated in a news release. “The possibility of rainfall is predicted throughout this week and is going to aggravate the situation. Motorists are advised not to drive through running water and not travel gravel or dirt roads unless necessary.”

Injury crash

Weather also contributed to a two-vehicle collision Saturday on U.S. 56, about seven miles southwest of Great Bend.

Kansas Highway Patrol reports a 2006 Chevrolet pickup driven by Brian T. Moeder, 45, Great Bend, was eastbound on U.S. 56 near Dundee at 6:05 p.m. when it hydroplaned. The driver lost control and the pickup crossed into the westbound plane, colliding with an oncoming 2004 Ford pickup driven by Randall S. Parker, 56, of Larned. Both trucks came to rest in the north ditch.

Moeder was taken to The University of Kansas Health System Great Bend Campus with a suspected minor injury. Parker and his passenger, Traci L. Coulson, 51, of Larned, were also taken to the Great Bend hospital with suspected minor injuries. All were wearing seat belts.

The sheriff urged everyone to use caution. He noted that county and township authorities have barricaded several areas in the county but water may rise unexpectedly, covering roadways during heavy rainfall.