The robust storm system that whipped across the central plains on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021, brought unusually strong winds and other hazards to Kansas and other locations within the Great Plains. The extreme weather featured wind gusts reported up to 100 mph in a couple of areas, leading to widespread power outages across Kansas.
Although some McPherson County residents suffered property damage, widespread power outages were not an issue. However, some of our neighbors were not so lucky. Western Kansas was hit particularly hard. In North-Western Kansas, families were evacuated as quick-moving grass fires threatened homes and buildings. Russell County was one of those communities overwhelmed by the storm.
On Wednesday afternoon, it was reported that 100 mph straight-line winds took out approximately 40 power poles, leaving the community entirely without power. Management officials at McPherson BPU were contacted by staff at the Kansas Municipal Utilities, who facilitates the Kansas Mutual Aid Program for Utilities (KSMAP), to see if McPherson would mobilize crews and equipment to help restore Russell’s power.
The McPherson BPU responded by sending six linemen, a digger derrick, and a bucket truck. Our crew worked 2, 13-hour days alongside crews from Colby, Dighton, and Garden City to help replace poles and string new wire to help restore a large percentage of their customer base before the weekend.