On Wednesday, December 15, Kansas got swept up in an intense dust storm that significantly decreased visibility, caused widespread power outages and infrastructure damage across the state. The storm was believed to have rolled in from Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, delivering pure chaos across the state of Kansas.
Several highways and main roads had to be closed due to zero visibility on these roads. State troopers and highway patrols urged residents to stay home and off the roads, as several large semis were knocked over due to the severe wind speeds. The dangerous driving conditions led to 20 injury accidents, 51 non-injury accidents, and three fatalities.
According to meteorologists, wind speeds of up to 100mph were recorded across the state; one witness described the dust storm as “feels like the sand and grit will take your skin off.” The strong wind gusts were some of the fastest ever recorded in Wichita.
In Summer County, the intense wind speeds blew off the gymnasium roof at Caldwell Elementary School. Students were forced to evacuate the premises and sent home for the day.
As the afternoon came around, the threat of wildfires became a reality. Smoke clouds began filling the air, further decreasing visibility and causing air quality issues. The smoke and dust spread by the intense winds led to Wichita’s Air Quality Index reaching 802, “a level considered hazardous to breathe.”
Emergency officials urged residents to call 911 if they spotted any wildfires or if anyone experienced any breathing difficulties.
Residents took to social media to document their experience with the dust storm. Some uploaded video footage showing the severity of the wind and the damage that has been caused.
Over 100,000 residents were stuck in the dark as the storm took down hundred of powerlines. Many powerlines were also damaged due to falling trees.
Other Midwest states also reported significant damage. In Nebraska, officials reported tornadoes, high winds, rain, and snow. In Iowa and Colorado, hundreds of power outages were reported as well as damaged homes, road closures, fallen trees and more.
Choosing a reliable roofing service provider in Kansas is essential in a disaster situation, so make sure that you choose wisely. You can count on Rhoden Roofing for professional and reliable roofing services in Kansas.
This article is part of our News Series. See more details on events in our region:
- 07/16/23: Straight-line Winds and Massive Chunks of Hail Demolish Great Bend
- 4/29/22 – 5/2/22 : Severe Storms Wreak Havoc Across Wichita
- 12/15/21: Winter Storm Shakes Up The Midwest
- 8/15/21: Large Hail And Strong Winds Causes Damage in Lyons, KS
- 5/26/21: Severe Storm with Golf Ball-Sized Hail and Tornado Brings Flash Flooding in McPherson