■ Assessing hail-damaged corn a job for many producers now.
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Mother Nature seems to be trading hail storms for drought this year as the area continues to get pounded with hail.
After a damaging storm in late June, July hasn’t proved to be much better. Three storms, including two on the same day, hit between Friday, July 17, and Monday, July 20.
The first storm Friday hit about 6 a.m. in the morning with pea-sized hail driven by wind and accompanied by a downpour that fell in the Imperial area.
Then, about 11:30 a.m. Friday, a more severe storm that swept through Keith and Perkins County made its way across Chase County to Imperial.
The second storm brought another deluge of rain, wind and hail up to quarter size or more in diameter.
As the storm moved south over town the hail started from north to south. After a short break, suddenly the hail intensified and fell from the south to the north with much more velocity. The heaviest damage came to the south end of Imperial.
People in that area of town reported most of the damage occurring on the south sides of their properties, even though the storm appeared to be moving south.
The hail ripped through screens, broke windows, poked holes in siding and cleaned out gardens on that side of town.
The hail damaged roofs that had already been repaired following the late June hail storm, not to mention damage to other roofs not in the path of the earlier storm. Some of the worst crop damage was suffered just on the south edge of Imperial.
Tim May had half a circle of potatoes just south of the golf course that got literally pounded by the hail.
Afterwards, all that remained of the plants were twisted vines. All of the leaves had been stripped.
A field of corn on ground owned by Frank Clements along the junk yard road just south of May’s potato field got stripped up bad, as well.
After the hail got done, even a rabbit didn’t have any cover as the leaves were largely stripped off.
Tennis ball-size hail falls Monday
If last Friday’s storms weren’t enough, Mother Nature dished out another dose late Monday afternoon.
The radar image of the storm indicated two distinct red cells, one in front of the other, covering most of Chase County from east to west.
While the immediate Imperial area missed most of the damage this time, the storm did trigger emergency officials to sound the tornado warning about 5 p.m.
Spotters detected the beginning of rotations in a cloud mass just northwest of Imperial. Fortunately, the rotation dissipated and did not spawn any funnel clouds.
The Champion area drew the brunt of Monday afternoon’s storm.
Sharon Raasch of Champion said she’d never seen hail so big. Pictures captured by Duane Dreiling, the county’s Deputy Emergency Manager, showed hail the size of tennis balls.
Raasch said she was talking on the phone with her son when the storm hit and her son could hear the banging of the hail over the phone.
The hail broke numerous north-facing windows and damaged siding, as well, around the Champion community.
Crop damage spread southeast of Champion.
A field of soybeans five miles south of Champion owned by Rodger Hamilton was stripped of all its north-facing canopy leaves and an irrigated wheat field across the road was heavily damaged.
Ron Johnson of Imperial, who farms south of Imperial and Champion, said every one of his circles of corn was hit in Monday’s storm.
Most of the damage came from the large hail breaking off stalks of the corn.
Johnson said he figured one field had at least 50 percent loss due to the hail.
The storm continued its course of damage through Dundy County and into Kansas. A resident west of Parks reported significant damage to crops and property from baseball-size hail generated by the storm.