Weekend Storms Wreak Havoc In McPherson County

McPHERSON COUNTY – Mother Nature reared her ugly head during the 2009 Father’s Day weekend.

Saturday evening severe weather struck the area.

McPherson County Director of 911 Communications and Emergency Operations Public Information Officer Darren Frazier said in a release that “McPherson County experienced an unconfirmed tornado affecting areas of McPherson County from the 400 block of Kiowa Road to 17th Avenue on the east is of McPherson,” which included the City of McPherson.

Residents from around the county have reported damaged of varying degrees to homes, outbuildings and trees.

Some localized flooding was an issue, Frazier said, and the electrical grid was damaged.

“There are reports of power lines and poles down over the affected area,” he said. “There are confirmed cases of at least one home in the City of McPherson that had a tree fall on it. Damage to some downtown structures is also reported.”

Two semis were blown over outside of McPherson, but no injuries as a direct result of the storm have been reported, Frazier said.

A fatality accident did occur Saturday night, though, and it could have been caused by the inclement weather.

Two vehicles collided on Highway 56. The head-on crash killed one person and injured another.

The Kansas Highway Patrol worked the accident with help from Canton and McPherson Emergency Medical Services personnel.

KHP said James D. Rogers, 70 of Fairplay, Colo., died in the crash, and he was wearing a seat belt.

Jason J. Schulz, 35 of Salina, was injured in the accident.

Police said he was not wearing a seat belt, and he was taken to Memorial Hospital in McPherson before being transferred to Promise Regional Medical Center in Hutchinson.

The high winds and heavy rain may have caused the accident, KHP said.

The accident happened in the eastbound lane. It occurred around 8 p.m. Saturday.

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