UPDATE: Sunday, May 20, 2012
Around 6:30 p.m. Saturday night, a tornado was spotted barreling down on Harper.
"It looked big, and potentially like it was coming toward town," said Pastor Alan Stucky, Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church in Harper.
Thankfully, the tornado spared Harper, but not before demolishing the Hostetler farmstead northwest of town.
"The Hostetlers and a variety of people from our church have gone out on several situations like this in the past. It's odd and difficult to be on the receiving end of that when you've been helping a lot of people for a while," said Pastor Stucky. "Basically, it's shock. It's not something you can prepare yourself for."
About three miles east of the Hostetler's, Glennis Latta lost 75 percent of her farmstead. She and her late husband moved there in 1951.
"There was a big barn here. There was a storage shed for my winter wood behind me, and there was a windmill over there, and a big tree, and it landed on my garage," said Latta.
Less than 24 hours after the tornado hit, help from family, friends, neighbors and even those currently working on the Harper County oil rigs has made the clean-up process a bit easier for residents who should have spent their Sunday in church.
"We called off church this morning, and at least in my opinion, this was the best church we could have had today," said Pastor Stucky.
UPDATE: Sunday, May 20, 2012
Local authorities hope to assess the amount of damage caused by tornadoes and thunderstorms in South Central Kansas Saturday evening.
The National Weather Service has determined an EF3 tornado touched down in Harper County approximately four miles west and two miles north of Harper. It left behind a path of destruction 200 yards wide. The reports indicate one home lost its roof and a farmstead was heavily damaged.
Kingman County Sheriff officials say the storms caused tree and hail damage in rural parts of the county. Tree damage has been reported along Highway 14 south of Rago.
Officials say a tornado is believed to have touched down approximately two miles north and five miles west of Kingman. No structures were damaged but there is significant tree damage in that area.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
It could be a stormy day in parts of KAKEland. The central part of the state, including Wichita and Hutchinson, is under a thunderstorm watch until 10 p.m.
The Storm Prediction Center has placed much of central Kansas under a slight risk of severe weather today. The biggest threats will be from large hail and damaging winds, although an isolated tornado can not be ruled out.
Storms should develop in central Kansas along an eastward moving cold front late this afternoon. The storms will then move into south central Kansas early this evening.
Meteorologists Tanner Swift and Hallie Shulman are monitoring the conditions from the KAKEland WeatherPlex.