NWS team says microburst, not tornado, caused damage near Topeka
Monday, October 8, 2018

TOPEKA – A thunderstorm Saturday morning knocked down several power poles in the Topeka area.

The storm hit at 8:05 a-m in an area about 4-and-a-half miles northwest of Topeka along County Road 600 South.

600 South between 1000 and 1100 West remains closed and wasn’t expected to re-open before this evening according to the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department and NIPSCO.

The National Weather Service sent a damage survey team to the area to assess the damage.

The survey revealed that a wet microburst was the likely cause of the damage. the microburst likely impacted in an open field and spread rapidly northeast near the intersection of county road 1050 w and 600 s.

Several wooden poles were blown down at the ground level with one being snapped. The impact of this occurring also caused several steel poles to bend at increasing
heights above the ground away from the main point of impact.

Several farms in the immediate area, as well as trees suffered little if any damage. Personal weather equipment by a farmer recorded a 66 mph wind gust in the area of damage. Given the forward speed of the storm around 45 mph and effects of the downburst, winds are estimated at 65 to 70 mph for the damage, with these winds likely occurring within a few hundred yards of the impact area.

No injures were reported.

The rains that moved through the area Saturday caused quite a bit of problems.

The biggest issue was flooding. In Sturgis, the intersection of Chicago and South Centreville Road was flooded so high that vehicles were becoming stuck. People also were taking canoes and boats through the intersection to help people get out of their vehicles and to higher ground.