High winds cause tree damage in Pratt

Tribune Staff
A large tree limb was ripped from its moorings on a front lawn near First and Hamilton streets in Pratt last Tuesday.

Residents around Pratt have been busy cleaning up tree limbs and branches after a weather front with strong wind gusts made its way across Pratt County the night of June 9.

Marc Russell, meteorologist for the National Weather service in Dodge City, said a 58 mph wind gust was recorded at the Pratt Regional Airport at 11 p.m. The weather service had many high wind reports from the storm but the highest were in the southwest part of the state. At least one report of a tree down were received from Cimarron, Spearville and in Dodge City. This wind was in conjunction with a cold front that crossed the area and produced snow in Colorado.

Seward County recorded a 73 mph wind gust, there was 78 at Scott County Lake and numerous reports of winds hitting 60 mph to close to 70 mph especially in the Liberal area, Russell said.

"We had an awful lot of reports," Russell said.

The storm produced very little rain in Pratt, only about 0.1 inches. What it did produce was lots of tree damage. Ranging from a few small twigs and leaves scattered across yards to larger branches. A large, entire tree crashed down in Lemon Park on the walking trail west of the entrance drive. The portion of three left standing showed rot at the point there the tree broke off several feet above the ground. A small sapling also went down on the northeast side of the park just south of the gazebo.

A large tree limb went down near First and Hamilton streets in Pratt the night of the high winds, necessitating expert help to get it cleaned up.

Numerous trees in Pratt city limits had broken branches or lost little limbs and twigs in the weather event.

At the Jeff Taylor residence southeast of Coats, a large tree came down on some power lines causing a loss of power and breaking the line that was still live on the ground. On the morning of June 10, Taylor discovered the problem and notified Ninnescah Electric.

Taylor, along with neighbors Sam Brant and Ralph Daniel were cleaning up downed limbs when wind caused the wire to spark and started a small grass fire north of the house around 10 a.m. Taylor, Brant and Daniel took shovels and beat down the fire. But there was so much dead grass that Taylor called 911 for fire trucks. He also called Ninnescah Electric and told them the problem was more serious than just a power outage.

Coats fire trucks arrived and sprayed down the burn area then stayed on scene until the power had been cut. Only a small portion of grass was burned.

Trees were not the only entities suffering storm damage from the high winds. A portion of the awning above the door to the Club D'Est and Uptown Cafe was torn away and was blowing in the morning breeze.

A few feet of metal roof facade on the west side of the National Guard Armory was torn upwards from the force of the wind. The rest of the roof appeared to be undamaged.

A piece of bent metal was sitting on the lawn on the northeast corner of Second and Ninnescah on The Peoples Bank drive-through. Several detour signs for K-14 were blown down at First and Main.

Outside city limits, a piece of twisted metal was lying amongst the rows of corn in an irrigated corn field just south of Pratt on the west side of U.S. 281. It resembled a covering for an irrigation motor.

Dispatch at the Pratt Law Enforcement Center did not receive any reports of serious damage anywhere in the county, however.