Shawnee Co., Kan. (WIBW) - Daylight brought a good look at damage left behind by strong Sunday night winds - and neighbors to lend helping hands.
Winds gusts topping 70 miles per hour were recorded in Topeka and around Shawnee County Sunday evening. The wind tore shingles off roofs, topped trees and power lines and ripped out fences.
Tim Berry lives near SE 22nd and Spruce. He says he went outside to pick up his trash can, but the wind tore it from his hands. He made it alongside his garage wall and says he was scooted along by the wind for a couple minutes, all the while being pelted by debris. When it was over, he saw part of his roof gone and windows broken out. But Berry says it didn't even take til morning for neighbors to start showing up to pitch in.
Monday morning, the neighbors were still showing up, helping clean Berry's yard and freeing his truck from beneath debris.
Not far away, at SE 21st and Croco Road, Rich Schiffelbein had his own cleaning crew going strong. He says the winds picked up a storage shed and dropped it a quarter mile east.
Chad Omitt of the Topeka National Weather Service Office says the damage around the area was caused by straight-line winds of 50-60 miles per hour, with pockets of microbursts, where winds topped 70-80 miles per hour. Omitt says there were no tornadoes, although people may have spotted several "gust-nados." Omitt compared them to larger versions of the dust devils you might see spin up on the ballfields in summer. He says they are whirls of dust at the leading edge of the wind that may extend a couple hundred feet into the air. A particularly large example was caught on video along Highway 24 near Williamstown.
Westar crews had power restored to all but about 100 locations in Shawnee County by mid-morning Monday. Shawnee Heights Elementary cancelled classes because they did not have power. In USD 501, the Burnett Administration Center and Quinton Heights Elementary did not have power until about 9:30 am. District spokesperson Ron Harbaugh says school officials went ahead with classes since Westar assured them it wouldn't take long to have power restored.
Gustnado video from TornadoVideos.net: