Straight Line Winds, Not Tornado, Caused Damage in Riley County on Saturday

Riley Co., Kan. — After performing an in-person assessment and further analyzing radar data, the National Weather Service of Topeka has determined the storm damage in Riley County on June 11 was caused by straight line winds and not a tornado. Some areas of Manhattan experienced straight line wind speeds of 100 mph, which is the equivalent of wind speeds in an EF1 tornado without the rotation.

Aerial view of damage to a building at Riley County Public Works facility

“Most of the storm damage we get in Kansas is actually caused by straight line winds, so they should always be taken very seriously,” said Riley County Emergency Management Director Russel Stukey. “Radar indicated a tornado debris signature and tight rotation in Olsburg in a storm which traveled south. We are very fortunate the rotation signature stopped before it reached Manhattan. The damage was significant, but could have been worse with a direct tornado hit.”
Any home or business owners who had significant structural damage resulting from the June 11 storm that has not already been reported can still do so. Examples of significant structural damage include a hole in a roof or broken windows allowing water into the structure. Please contact the Riley County Appraiser’s Office at (785) 537-6310 by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 15 to request an assessment. The team from the Riley County Appraiser’s Office and Manhattan Fire Department Risk Reduction Division completed the preliminary assessment indicating $9.47 Million of property damage in the county.
Residents who have questions about their insurance coverage or are having an issue with their insurance company can call the Kansas Insurance Department Consumer Assistance Hotline at 1-800-432-2484 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Riley County Emergency Management has received reports that outdoor warning sirens did not sound in some areas. Sirens were only activated in locations that were included in the tornado warning as determined by the National Weather Service. Sirens serve as outdoor warning systems and often the sound does not penetrate buildings.

Street view of damaged home in Riley County

“It’s each individual’s responsibility to be weather aware and to choose the warning method that best suits their needs, whether it’s a NOAA weather radio, tv or radio broadcast, weather app on their phone, or the Northeast Kansas Emergency Notification System,” said Stukey.  “Everyone should have at least three ways to be notified of severe weather.”
Anyone can sign up for free Everbridge alerts through the Northeast Kansas Emergency Notification System at www.rileycountyks.gov/alerts. Alerts will be sent by text, email, and/or phone message.