A8 WEDNESDAY. JUNE 3, 1998 GREAT PLAINS THE SALINA JOURNAL t WEATHER AND CROPS UP says service is speeding up By The Associated Press OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific slightly improved train speeds last week despite Memorial Day disruptions and washed-out tracks. The Omaha-based railroad reported to federal regulators that its average train speed rose to 14 mph from 13.9 mph for the week ended Friday. The railroad reported 19 mph average speeds in May 1997. Union Pacific said it was storing empty grain cars in some locations and that some grain elevators were holding empty cars waiting for grain to come in. The company said grain shippers are holding substantial volumes of grain off the market, leaving inadequate storage space for the upcoming grain harvest. As a result, Union Pacific said, car shortages are likely again this fall unless grain starts moving while cars are available. LADIES, MENS&KIDS LEVI-STRAUS5 WOMEN'S PLUS SIZE SPORTSWEAR MENU • RIVER TRADER • SIEEPWEAR TV TRAVS (W^^SSL • CIRLSWEAR LADIES & KIDS. SPORTSWEAR CLOSEDTUESDAY TO RESTOCK.. OPEN 10AM WED. (SUN. 1PM) 2501 Market PI. Sallna, KS 67401 826-9664 Personal Checks E We Deliver O i- T i Sahna Journal News You Can Use CHARLIE RIEDEL / Hays Daily News Doug Lubbers swaths a green wheat field Monday near Pfeifer. The wheat was damaged by hail May 24 in a storm that destroyed thousands of acres and caused millions of dollars in losses. Farmers tally losses to hail Memorial Day weekend storms cut heavy swath across western Kansas By NICK SCHWIEN I Hays Daily News Insurers and farmers are still assessing damage from storms that cut through northwest and north-central Kansas the weekend of May 24. ; Large hail caused heavy damage along its path that nearly paralleled the Smoky Hill River. Many counties in the area were hit, including Ellis, Rush, Ness, Trego, Gove, Logan and Thomas. Early reports indicate the damage might be the most severe to the area in several years. "There was approximately 35,000 to 40,000 acres of wheat lost in the storm and 77,000 acres total farm ground lost, which includes corn and milo," said Joe Wary, Ellis County Extension agricultural agent. "The loss will probably be around $3.5 to $4 million." "We've got preliminary reports in on it," said Rick Wheeler, Farm Bureau Insurance agent in Quinter. "I'm estimating that it will be close to 4,000 acres destroyed in southern Gove County and some of that was real close to being totaled. It will probably be pretty close to $400,000 conservatively." Wheeler said the hail in his area was up to golf ball size. Randy Mader, National Farmers Union Insurance Companies agent in Hays, said, "In the area we cover, we had approximately 2,500 acres of crops damaged. From the claims and people we know, the estimated damage will be close to $300,000." Mader believed the storm was different in its nature. "It was kind of a fluke storm. Most of the severe storms have severe winds, hail and a lot of rain. This storm was overwhelmingly a hail storm. It hailed hard for 20 minutes," he said. While some counties were hit hard, others were spared. "There was one report of hail in extreme southwest Thomas County that I know of," said Bob Standage, Thomas County Extension agent. Many farmers are trying different means to salvage every little bit of wheat that they can. Some are trying to bale the damaged wheat while others are going to use it as silage. The storms affected areas as far north as Rawlins County. "Most of our damage happened on Friday, May 22," said Cynthia Dixson, Rawlins County Extension agent. "The main area hit was northeast and northwest of McDonald. I've heard reports from some people that the damage is anywhere from 40-80 percent on the wheat. The corn and milo in that area will probably have to be replanted." Rate of Kansas Value from a Kansas Bank. 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