With storm damage in Riley County nearing 10 million dollars, the National Weather Service in Topeka has determined the cause of damage to be straight line winds and not a tornado.
Information released Monday indicates some areas of Manhattan experienced straight line wind speeds in the realm of 100 miles per hour, which emergency personnel say rival the wind speeds of an EF1 tornado – minus the rotation.
Even so, Riley County Emergency Management Director Russel Stukey says it should still be taken seriously. He says radar indicated a tornado debris signature and tight rotation in the storm in Olsburg in Pottawatomie County which traveled south, and that Manhattan was lucky the rotation stopped before it reached town.
Property owners who have not reported any experienced damage to their structures can still report it to the County Appraiser’s Office through Wednesday at 5 p.m. Call 785 – 537 – 6310 to request an assessment.
Damage assessments have been ongoing since Sunday and Stukey says appraisers have put the initial estimate on damage to the Riley County Public Works facility at over $644,000.
“We had some of our emergency management equipment (impacted) and one piece of equipment out there, a message board was flipped over. A box trailer we had was flipped over… There were numerous fire calls for downed power lines and trees on houses,” he said.
There was one call for an entrapment, but by the time fire officials arrived that person was safe.
Stukey says his office also fielded reports that outdoor warning sirens did not sound in some areas. Sirens were only activated in locations included within the tornado warning as determined by the National Weather Service. Those sirens, he says, serve as outdoor warning systems and often the sound does not penetrate buildings. He says everyone should have at least three ways to be notified of severe weather.