Storm moves in quickly

A fallen tree obstructs the north lane of Third Street
between Denver Ave. and St. Joseph Ave. Monday morning
following a Sunday night storm.

A thunderstorm packing heavy rain and wind gusts of more than 80 mph descended on the area in a hurry Sunday evening.

It was calm one minute and a downpour the next.

Temperatures in Hastings dropped from 82 degrees at 8 p.m. Sunday to 64 just an hour later. During the same period, the relative humidity rose from 58 to 84 percent, according to National Weather Service data.

As it quickly dropped to 64 degrees in Hastings, it remained near 80 degrees just a few miles southeast at Spring Ranch.

Merl Heinlein, meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Hastings, said the storm that passed through the area joined up with another thunderstorm that was traveling through north-central Kansas and dropped baseball to softball-sized hail in Phillips County.

Heinlein said the main hail-damaged area was just south of Agra, Kan.

"This is really large hail for August," he said. "That is something we find more often in May or June. Usually the environment is warmer and it is little more difficult for the larger hail to form. It's not rare, but it doesn't happen much in August."

Heinlein said that air was incredibly humid Sunday, with dew points of 70 or higher earlier in the day.

"After the fog cleared away, we just got very unstable," he said.

Heinlein said the storm that passed through the area originated in South Dakota and north central Nebraska earlier in the day. The storm grew to the south through Sunday afternoon.

Wind gusts ranged from 60 to 80 mph across central Nebraska.

An 83 mph gust was recorded by the National Weather Service at the Hastings airport.

"We had several areas getting 70 mph wind gusts as it came into central and south central Nebraska," Heinlein said. "This is a notable year for Hastings because this is the fourth time we have measured 70 mph or more winds during one season. It is not unusual for us to get 70 mph winds here, but to get it four times is notable."

The Hastings area has experienced a mild summer as normal temperatures have combined with above average moisture levels since mid-June. Currently, Hastings is at 20.09 inches of moisture, 1.14 inches above normal. The average amount of precipitation in the area is 27 inches annually, according to the National Weather Service.

This week will be heating up as temperatures will be in the mid-90s through Friday. This weekend will be back into the 80s for highs.

Heinlein said a chance of thunderstorms in the area returns on Wednesday. Thunderstorms also are possible Thursday and Friday, he said.

To read more, see Monday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>

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