Weak, short-lived tornadoes cause little damage in Kansas

Posted: Updated:
Tornado near Great Bend on May 18, 2017 | Courtesy KCTV Tornado near Great Bend on May 18, 2017 | Courtesy KCTV
Wind Damage @ Salina Speedway, 5-18-2017 Wind Damage @ Salina Speedway, 5-18-2017
Wind Damage @ Salina Speedway, 5-18-2017 Wind Damage @ Salina Speedway, 5-18-2017

Salina Speedway will have no dirt track racing for awhile, because of what strong winds and heavy rain did Thursday evening.

At least one building received roof damage. The siding was ripped off, and huge pieces of metal were tangled in fences.

Promoter Tommy Hendrickson said he was driving toward Salina from the Kansas City area, when he heard a report of a possible tornado near the track. He said Thursday's damage was unlike any he's seen before.

EF-3 tornado destroys 9 homes in Barton County

"We had a roof blow off a building because it wasn't put on right, but that was our own fault," he recalled. "A couple of lights have been moved around. One time we had a light, it was pretty windy, and it ripped it off. But other than that, nothing like this."

Meteorologists haven't yet determined whether a tornado or strong winds are responsible for the damage to the Speedway.

At one point Thursday night, Westar Energy reported more than 850 customers without power across Saline County.

The National Weather Service logged nearly 20 reports of tornadoes from the states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and numerous reports of high winds and hail.

Meteorologist Bill Turner says several storms were occurring at the same time, which reduced the risk of damage. He described it as a "competition thing" and said that "when you get 10 trying to compete for the moisture, none can take over." He says the worst tornadoes are "by themselves."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Previous story by the Associated Press:

The National Weather Service says three tornadoes have touched down briefly in mostly rural areas of Kansas as a severe storm system stretched from Oklahoma into south-central Kansas.

Meteorologist Vanessa Pearce in Wichita says tornadoes were reported in Barton, Barber and Ford counties Thursday afternoon. Heavy rains and hail were reported across much of the region, with flash flooding reported in Great Bend, Kansas. No serious damage or injuries were reported.

The system also spawned several tornadoes Thursday in Oklahoma and Texas. Meteorologist Michael Scotten in Norman, Oklahoma, says four tornadoes were reported in western Oklahoma and two in northwest Texas. The twisters struck near the towns of Duke and Corn in Oklahoma and Crowell, Texas, Thursday afternoon.

Significant and "intense" tornadoes were forecast for the Southern Plains through Friday.

Watch KAKE's continuous coverage at kake.com/weathernow

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have a photo to share with us? Email it to news@kake.com.