A severe late-summer thunder storm rolled through portions of northern Barton County, and Russell and Ellsworth counties Tuesday night, bringing large hail, heavy rains and straight-line wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour.
There was even a report of a tornado on the ground north of Ellinwood, but that turned out to be a false alarm, said Barton County Sheriff Greg Armstrong. There was, however, a possible wall cloud, a potential precursor to a tornado.
The National Weather Service out of Wichita issued a number of severe weather warnings for the area through out the evening. Most expired around midnight.
Barton County communities impacted by the storm were Dubuque, Galatia, Hitschman, Hoisington and Susank. There was some damage reported and at least one power line down.
The only major structural damage Armstrong was aware of was in the small, northern Barton County town of Dubuque where St. Catherine Catholic Church was hit. He said an out building and the steeple were damaged.
Susan Weber, a rural Hoisington resident and former parishioner of St. Catherine, said there were several windows were broken out of the sacristy and school buildings, and a wall of a Quonset hut was completely blown away. The church closed in the late 1990s, but is still maintained and used for community gatherings, and funerals and funeral dinners.
Weber, who lives south of Dubuque, said the storm was worse east, west and north of the church. Windows were broken, house siding damages and roofs shredded. “And the crops are gone in places.”
The wind, rain and hail also affected crops in other portions of the region.
The storm came up pretty quickly, the sheriff said. “We came out real lucky compared to other areas.”