Rollover may have been caused by 46 mph wind gusts near Pratt

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
A semi pulling an empty trailer flipped over, possibly due to 46 mph wind gusts in Pratt County, on U.S. Highway 61 northeast of Pratt on Wednesday, December 23. Traffic was blocked for several hours.

The Pratt County Sheriff's Department, EMS and Preston Fire, along with the Kansas Highway Patrol, responded to a semi rollover accident at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, December 23, northeast of Pratt on U.S. Highway 61 near 60th Avenue.

The semi, pulling an empty grain trailer, may have been tossed over by wind gusts, which at that time were recorded up to 46 mph, according to the U.S. National Weather Service out of Dodge City. Snow flurries were also present at that time.

"Pratt Regional Airport recorded 35 mph winds exactly at 3:15 p.m. but then also logged intermittent wind gusts up to 46 mph at that time in the county," said meteorologist Greg Tatro with the national weather service. "The snow was a bit of a surprise in this area, as that was expected in northern Kansas but not this far south.

According to Pratt County Sheriff Jimmy White, the accident was under the jurisdiction of the KHP so he could not comment on injury status of the driver and passenger in the semi, which ended up crosswise on highway 61, blocking both lanes of traffic for some time. A report was not filed on the Kansas Highway Patrol online crash log site, indicating that there were likely no serious injuries.

A fire department was called out on standby as there was a fuel leak on the semi at the time of the accident, but that threat did not expand.

The City of Pratt Police Department assisted in traffic control, stopping traffic on highway 61 inside Pratt city limits on the northeast side of town for several hours Wednesday afternoon, until the wreckage could be cleared by Southwest Truck Parts tow service.