Storm brings high winds, damaging hail
Friday's storm made a toppled oak tree on 83rd Street a local celebrity, but the most noticeable long-term consequence may be a lack of homegrown tomatoes later this summer.
The oak tree that fell on Lou Scott's rental home appeared on several metropolitan television stations that filmed damage from the early evening storm.
Assistant De Soto Fire Chief Mike Frehe said sirens blew just after 6 p.m. Friday after storm watchers and other witnesses saw circular motion in the clouds moving in from the north.
As he watched a crew reduce the tree to kindling Saturday morning, Scott estimated the oak to be more than 200 years old. Its fall caused about $5,000 in damages to the roof and west wall of the house at the corner of Osage and 83rd streets, he said.
Debbie Miller, De Soto American Family Insurance Agency agent, said a number of local homeowners filed claims from limb damage. But the bulk of claims reported to her office were from the marble-sized hail that accompanied the storm.
"American Family has declared a catastrophic sight within a 15-to-20-mile radius of the De Soto and Shawnee area," Miller said. "It's mostly roof damage. About 10 percent is damage to cars, but it's mostly homes."
People also told her that the storm destroyed tomato plants and flowers, Miller said. The state of gardens in the storm's wake has been a common local conversation topic.
The hail also damaged crops. The storm left George and Mary Abel, rural Eudora, wondering what kind of yields they can they can expect from the 65 acres of corn they planted on the West Bottoms off Edgerton Road.
"My grandfather always said not to look at hail damage until three days after the storm," Mary said. "We'll just have to wait and see. If the stocks aren't knocked over and the leaves are just shredded, it will go ahead and come on. If they are, it's done.
"Yields won't be as good, no matter what. Plants won't produce the same after suffering that kind of stress."