By JIM MISUNAS
RICE COUNTY — A tornadic storm that started in Rice County caused minimal damage to property, according to an initial damage assessment by Greg Klein, Rice County emergency manager.
Klein joined a National Weather Service crew in Rice and Reno counties Tuesday that was assessing the strength of the tornado that started at 6:32 p.m. near Ave. X and 27th Road in Rice County Monday night. The tornado left the county at Ave. Y and 26th Road in Rice County.
At the time of the first tornado warning, the storm in southern Rice County was estimated six miles northeast of Nickerson moving in a southwesterly direction.
“It was a visually impressive tornado. We had reports coming in from Chase to Little River,” Klein said. “There was a house that sustained damage near 27th and Ave. X. There was some tree damage and disruption to power with power lines being damaged.”
The thunderstorm quickly developed into a super cell that is capable of producing a tornado. The National Weather Service rated the tornado that hit northeast of Nickerson as an EF-3 with peak winds at 165 mph.
The tornado was on the ground 5.3 miles and was 350 yards wide.
“The storm became a super cell and once it broke the atmospheric cap, it developed a tornado,” Scott Smith, Wichita NWS meteorologist. “These storms can develop fairly quickly.”
The tornado damaged several properties north and east of Nickerson. No injuries were reported in the storm, said Todd Strain, Reno County emergency manager.
A farm home destroyed two miles east of Nickerson at 95th and Dean Road is owned by Brad and Janis Berridge, who operate Berridge’s IGA in Nickerson. Their cat named Precious and two geese that live on the pond survived the storm.
The home of Frank and Patty Gregg in the 8000 block of Dean Road had roof damage, and a garage collapsed on their vehicle. Several vehicles sustained damage.
The property of Dan and Donna Snyder near W. 82nd and Herren Road saw downed trees and power lines. Dean Road between 69th Avenue and 82nd Avenue was closed, and 95th Avenue and Dean Road was closed, due to tornado damage that resulted in downed trees and power poles.