For the past couple of days, we have had small amounts of rain--nothing terribly significant. That all changed this afternoon when heavy rains started around 1:30 or 2:00. Then, around 4:00, everything fell apart! Very heavy rain with small hail struck town. Unfortunately, we had to have Abigayle at the health department for a shot at that time. As soon as she had had her immunization, we headed for the mill so that we could clean. It was only 4:15 and the streetlights had already turned on. Before we got to the Main and Broadway stoplight intersection, deep water was everywhere. Traffic could hardly move. As we proceeded eastward, things became MUCH worse. The rain was so heavy that even with our wipers going full-speed, they couldn't keep up. The girls and I are throughly convinced that we drove through a mini tornado by the golfcourse. All of a sudden, we were in practically complete darkness. Between the wind, hail and rain, we could barely hear Abigayle screaming! She has a major phobia of rainstorms!!! Eventually, we made it through the storm. Once we turned off on the Seaboard road, we looked to the west. We could see the black funnel going back into the sky.
While we were cleaning at the mill, the rain reduced itself to just a heavy sprinkle. As soon as we finished there, we headed back to town to clean the downtown offices. Flooding was widespread by that time. Several streets were completely under water. The east-west street just to the north of Dollar General was one such street covered in water. We watched as someone in a brand-new and very tall pick-up drove through it. The pick-up died and stayed put for quite sometime. Eventually, the driver was able to turn it on again. The pick-up was making a screaming sound as it moved through the water. Once it got to Main Street, it was able to get out of the water and progressed south. By the time that we parked on Main Street in front of their offices, we still had to wade through fairly deep water, approximately 2" or so, to get to the front door. We were shocked that the water had not gotten into the offices. The rain came to a complete halt while we were there.
As we were 'wading' into the offices, our son, Adam, called us from Scott City. He told us that it had been confirmed that the deadliest of all tornadoes was on the ground somewhere between Lakin and Leoti. At that time, meteorologists did not know if it would continue northward to Leoti or turn east towards Scott City. Fortunately for Leotians, it went eastward. Adam said that the storm is supposed to be heading straight for Scott City.
All of Southwest Kansas is under a tornado watch--NOT warning until 9:00. Now, at 6:45, we are once again receiving light rain. The winds have picked up drastically. All of our trees and bushes are getting a tough thrashing. Adam called just a few minutes ago. He said that it is entirely possible and probable that people in our area could end up with baseball-sized hail this evening. Last June, much of Wichita County including Leoti received baseball-sized hail. Many people lost their roofs and windows. Vehicles were terribly abused from the storm. Our 2001 Buick Century was a total loss. Believe me, we can do without that size of hail ever again!
I am going to sign off for now. If we do get another storm tonight, I will pass that information on to you.