People in Mankato, Kansas are cleaning up after softball-size hail caused major damage across Jewell County Friday night.
Around 8 p.m. the severe storm, including a funnel cloud, passed over Jewell County and was followed by rare late-summer softball-sized stones.
“Really never seen anything like this before. Dealt with a lot of storms but this was the biggest,” Jewell County EMS Director Shannon Meier said.
I’m in Mankato Kansas where grapefruit sized hail rolled through Sunday night and caused a lot of damage. pic.twitter.com/l6HHvGZSTM— Shannon Heckt (@ShannonHeckt) August 19, 2020
Meier was out storm spotting that night. As he watched the funnel cloud he was caught in the hail and had to pull over to the side of the road. His truck was smashed and he took cover as glass flew around him.
“My concern then was there were other vehicles out so I had requested that we get units out to do a search of the highways,” Meier said.
Thankfully, there were no reported injuries, but the damage didn’t stop there. Soybean fields belonging to the Newell family took a beating. Around 850 acres are expected to be considered a total loss.
“We put a lot of time and effort into these crops and in 15 minutes it’s gone,” Kale Newell said.
This week at KDOT, workers will be busy repairing storm damage from this past weekend in Mankato! Our thoughts go out to everyone who was affected by this damaging storm.— NCKansasKDOT (@NCKansasKDOT) August 17, 2020
"I've never seen hail go through a roof til now," said Dennis Kennedy, Equipment Operator Senior in Mankato. pic.twitter.com/eiJpD9nzqX
The beans were at waist level, but the pea to baseball-sized hail shredded them down to shin height. Newell said when he went to check the field Friday night he knew it didn’t look good.
“Yeah it hurts mentally and financially but it happens and just have to get enough money to cover your input costs hopefully and keep moving forward,” Newell said.
Homeowners across the southeastern side of the city are assessing their damage where they saw the larger stones. Estimates are in the hundreds of thousands to clean up what the storm left behind.
Newell said hail is a common thing in the summer but this storm was something special. They’re just looking forward to being able to plant their crops again next year.
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