WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Strong sustained winds whipped across Kansas on Wednesday caused dark skies, power outages, wildfires and highway closings. Wind gusts of 100 mph were reported in Russell. In Lamar, Colorado, a gust of 107 mph was recorded Wednesday morning.

The strong winds also whipped up dust that reduced visibility. The Kansas Highway Patrol urged drivers to stay home and not drive. The Kansas Department of Transportation closed Interstate 70 from the Colorado border to Salina, as well as all state highways. All have reopened as of Thursday morning.

For up-to-date information on roads and conditions, visit www.kandrive.org, or call 511 in Kansas or 866-511-5368 outside of Kansas.

Power Outages:

The storm also knocked out power to thousands of Kansans. As of Thursday morning, about 43,000 are still out. Evergy tells KSN News that the Salina area was one of the hardest hit in our viewing area. Click here for the latest outages.

Wind gusts:

Here are some of the peak wind gusts with the highest in Russell, topping out at 100 mph to a nearly 70 mph wind gust for Wichita.

  • Dodge City — 84 mph
  • Oakley — 84 mph
  • Colby — 68 mph
  • Johnson City — 66 mph
  • Sharon Springs — 83 mph
  • Sylvan Grove — 65 mph
  • Grinnell — 62 mph
  • Sharon Springs — 84 mph
  • Russell — 100 mph
  • Salina — 91 mph
  • Hutchinson — 84 mph
  • Wichita — 69 mph


Several towns and counties in northwest and northcentral Kansas had to battle wildfires.

Fires were reported in Sheridan, Trego, Ellis, Russell, Osborne and Rooks County. Fires were also reported in other counties. Several homes in those areas were destroyed as firefighters couldn’t keep up with the wind-fanned flames.


Photo gallery: High wind and dust in Kansas

Kansas updates from social media:

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