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Crews Work Around the Clock to Restore Electricity following Sunday Storms that Struck Barton and Pawnee Counties


GREAT BEND, Kan. – Winds gusting upwards of 80 miles an hour and hail nearing baseball size blasted parts of central Kansas Sunday afternoon and evening. Storms that moved in from Nebraska cut a swath that generally followed US 281 south across the state.

The hardest hit was Great Bend, where extensive damage was reported to trees and power lines, with multiple reports received of structural damage. Among the damage was the roof being taken off one church and extensive damage to mobile homes on the east side of Great Bend.

At one point Sunday night, Wheatland Electric reported that all of their approximately 9,000 customers in Barton County, including the city of Great Bend, were without power. There was extensive damage to the main transmission lines coming into Great Bend, which crews worked through the night to repair. Wheatland anticipated most power would be restored by the end of the on Monday.

Midwest Energy at one point had just over 3,500 customers in an area stretching from southern Russell County south into Stafford and Edwards counties without electricity.

In Larned, City Manager Brad Eilts told Ad Astra News Monday morning most of their customers who lost power Sunday night have had service restored, as crews worked through the night with outside crews brought in to assist in power restoration. Monday afternoon, city officials issued a request asking that customers limit their electricity usage where possible, as backup generators were struggling to keep up due to the extreme temperatures.

Eilts said Larned did have a lot of tree damage, though not to the extent seen in Great Bend.

The City of Great Bend is putting together a storm cleanup plan for trees and limbs. City crews are currently focusing on clearing streets only, but once that is done the next step will be to drive every neighborhood and pick trees and limbs. That being said, if you can take your own tree limbs to the city compost site that would be most appreciated.

If you’re in a situation where you can’t clean up your yard, contact city hall at 620-792-4111 or email [email protected], and you will be added to a list they are compiling for volunteer groups to assist.

Tree Trimmers wanting to get licensed in Great Bend must fill out an application at City Hall at 1209 Williams, or email [email protected] to receive an electronic copy. Once the application is completed and all fees are paid, the city can approve work, although licenses won’t officially be approved until the next City Council meeting currently set for August 7th.

The same process needs to be followed for anyone wanting to leave door hangers or fliers advertising their services. If you have questions call 620-793-4111.