Harvey County Emergency Management and its emergency partners are assessing storm damage across the county from severe weather on May 19.

No storm-related injuries have been reported in Harvey County. Several damaged buildings have been reported. The American Red Cross coordinated assistance for one family whose home was damaged. 

The U.S. National Weather Service - Wichita office completed on-site damage assessments and storm classifications on May 20. The report found that damage was caused by straight-line winds from a derecho. Evidence did not point to a tornado in Harvey County. The NWS measured wind gusts that reached 72 mph, and estimated peak gusts may have exceeded 90 mph. 

As of May 23, no County-maintained roadways remains closed due to storm damage. Harvey County Road and Bridge will provide the cities of Burrton and Halstead with equipment and staff support for their respective city cleanups over the coming weeks. 

Numerous power outages were reported. More than 10,000 customers were affected in the county into the overnight hours of the storm, though that number decreased as utility crews restored power lines and poles. Evergy and Butler Electric have online outage maps to view.

The City of Newton, City of BurrtonCity of Halstead and City of Hesston announced plans for residents to have storm debris removed.

"It's been a difficult 24 hours for our residents. They've also shown their resilience in this challenging situation," said Harvey County Commission Chair Becky Reimer on May 20. "We've had such a tremendous response from our first responders, our local public works employees and our utility teams. I'm extremely proud of their efforts around the clock in response to these storms."

The Harvey County Planning, Zoning and Environmental Department can provide guidance to residents that sustained damaged in the unincorporated parts of the county. Residents that sustained structural damage should contact PZE before beginning construction. Permits are required for all structures, including agriculture structures. A permit is not required for roof or siding replacement.

If a well casing was damaged by the storm, call a well professional to repair the well. Once sealed and shock chlorinated, test the well prior to drinking. Water tests are available in the PZE office.

The Harvey County Appraiser's Office conducted damage assessments throughout the county. The assessments will be submitted to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management to determine if the county is eligible for various aid and reimbursements.

Emergency Management did not allow controlled burns on May 20 due to the conditions throughout the county. Controlled burns were allowed again beginning May 21.  

Harvey County issued a verbal disaster declaration on May 19 after storms passed through, and the Harvey County Commission approved a formalized written declaration at its May 21 meeting. Disaster declarations aid with coordination of resources if needed. The cities of Burrton and Halstead declared local states of emergency Monday due to storm damages. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly also issued a state disaster declaration.

The Harvey County Health Department was closed May 20-21 due to the power outage, but reopened as of May 22. All three County-owned parks had various debris due to the storms. West Park was without power, but it has since been restored. The Harvey County Courthouse, Law Enforcement Center and Solid Waste facility maintained normal operations. 

Emergency personnel, utility workers and road crews were assessing conditions overnight and into Monday, May 20. Individuals were advised to avoid work areas to allow workers to safely operate.

(Updated May 23, 2024)