1986-08-01: Kansas Storm

One of the most memorable storms for me was the one that rolled through this day.

I was in the auto parts store downtown (about 5 ish?) when it got real dark all of a sudden. I walked outside with my brother and the store clerk to look West and the black and green was already pretty much on us. The sirens were sounded and might have lasted for 7 seconds before they died off with the power. We could see all kinds of airborne debris coming down the road so we hauled back into the store doorway as the debris, heavy rain and the hail came flying past. The hail grew as it started piling up against the cars. The wind increased and by instinct or something we flew behind the counter towards the bathroom as the plate glass windows exploded inward. The brick building we were in started rattling so hard we though it was coming down, I cannot say how long it lasted but as it calmed down some we went to the back door and opened it to 3 feet of hail piled up against everything to look outside.

When it finally calmed enough to get out of there we headed for grandmas house first, it was only 10 blocks away but it took over 20 minutes to get there through downed trees, lines and debris that was blocking the road in every block. We were without power for many hours and the sights that we saw that evening and night in that dark town will be etched forever in my mind.

I have never since seen thunderstorm damage like that and it takes an EF 4-5 to start reminding me of the tree and structure damage (short of blown down buildings) that we saw that night. I remember at that time there were many places that had what was called tornado damage paths in the main path of damage as well.

What I would like to see is pictures, radar, satellite etc from that storm because taking pictures back then at that time was the furthest thing from my mind. I did find a few related stories:

NWS - Dodge City, KS

Aug 1, 1986
A powerful thunderstorm produced 100 mph winds and large hail in eastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri causing 71 million dollars damage, and injuring 19 persons. It was one of the worst thunderstorms of record for Kansas. Crops were mowed to the ground in places and roofs blown off buildings along its path, 150 miles long and 30 miles wide, from near Abilene to southeast of Pittsburg.