‘It’s zero visibility’: Blinding dust storm moving at 90mph ‘hurricane-strength’ winds blanket HALF of Kansas and knock out power to nearly 120,000 people: 18-wheelers topple over and roads become no-go zones
- Blinding dust storm moving at hurricane force winds of 90mph has blanketed half of Kansas and knocked out power to nearly 120,000 residents Wednesday night
- Footage of the storm posted to social media shows it whipping red dust at such high speeds that nearly nothing could be seen, as drivers were forced to pull over and put on their brake lights
- The wind also knocked down an 18-wheeler as roads throughout the state remained closed
- There have also been reports that the dust storm sparked some fires that have spread too quickly to get under control as a tornado warning has also been issued
A blinding dust storm moving at hurricane force winds of 90mph has blanketed half of Kansas and knocked out power to nearly 120,000 residents Wednesday night.
Footage of the powerful storm posted to social media show the winds whipping red dust at such high speeds that KSN meteorologists warned ‘It’s zero visibility,’ as drivers were forced to pull over and put on their brake lights.
It even forced an 18-wheeler to topple over in nearby Missouri, and there have been reports that the excessive dust has caused several large fires that have spread too quickly to get under control.
The National Weather Service has issued a severe wind advisory for Leavenworth County in Kansas, and urged residents to seek shelter and avoid windows in the storm. The Kansas Department of Transportation reports that highways throughout the state are closed, and staff had to be evacuated from the air traffic control center of the Kansas City International Airport, likely causing diversions and delays during the busy holiday season.
Gov. Laura Kelly issued an inclement weather declaration shortly after 3pm for Shawnee County, effectively closing state offices.
A tornado warning has also been issued in the western part of the state, as 119,000 people were without power by 5pm on Wednesday, KSN reports.
Photos and video posted to social media showed visibility greatly reduced in the dust storm that spread over Kansas
The winds were so severe, at 90mph, that they even managed to knock over an 18-wheeler in the storm
The storm hovered over Kansas Wednesday evening, extending into Missouri and Colorado
Dust storms and earthquakes: Kansas is hit with several natural disasters in one day
Just hours before a powerful dust storm passed through Kansas, greatly reducing visibility and taking down power lines, those in Saline County experienced four earthquakes.
The first occurred on Tuesday afternoon shortly after 4pm when a 2.5 magnitude quake shook Gypsum.
Then in the early hours of Wednesday, a 4.0 magnitude quake rocked the same area, and a third, this time at a magnitude of 3.4, struck later in the morning.
And a fourth, 3.1 magnitude quake, occurred just after 12.17pm on Wednesday.
The National Weather Service in Wichita said the city of Russell hit 100mph at the airport at about 4pm, and as of 1.50pm, FOX Weather reports, multiple roads were closed – including Interstate 70 from the Colorado state line to Russell, Kansas due to the low visibility.
The storm caused downed tree limbs, fallen power lines and property damage in Kansas, Missouri and Colorado.
The brunt of the storm appeared to strike Hutchinson and central Kansas between 4pm and 5pm, the Topeka Capitol Journal reports.
In just that one hour, power outages around Hutchinson shot up from 48, impacting around 500 customers, to more than 455, affecting more tan 5,700 customers.
And by 5.15pm, the number had limed to 672 outages, with some 7,835 customers left in the dark, as emergency personnel throughout the region responded to downed powerlines and poles.
A large storage facility in Hutchinson collapsed Wednesday night, after witnesses saw the roof blow off from one side, as if ‘it was hinged,’ around 6pm, KWCH reporter Alex Flippin tweeted, with another reporter, Greg Payne on the scene as debris fell from part of a roof at the Kansas City’s Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport.
Officials say the roof of one of the hangars was ripped off during wind gusts up to 77 mph.
‘We have a roof that just came off,’ Payne said on his live broadcast Wednesday night, noting he wasn’t sure what he heard until he saw the debris start to fall.
In Wichita, meanwhile, the Air Quality Index of 99 was reported at 99, putting the city on the verge of unhealthy levels.
‘We are advising residents, especially those in sensitive groups, to consider limiting time outdoors until air quality improves,’ city officials wrote on Twitter.
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