A vicious storm tore through the Kansas City area on Tuesday, spawning tornadoes that downed trees and power lines, damaged homes and injured at least a dozen people in the latest barrage of severe weather that saw tornado warnings as far east as New York City. A large and dangerous tornado touched down on the western edge of Kansas City, Kansas, late Tuesday, the National Weather Service office reported.
A hospital in Lawrence, Kansas, said 12 patients were admitted. KCTV meteorologist Brett Anthony saw damage on the south side of Lawrence.
Parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey also were under tornado warnings hours after a swarm of tightly packed twisters swept through Indiana and Ohio overnight, smashing homes, blowing out windows and ending the school year early for some students because of damage to buildings. One person was killed and at least 130 were injured.
The storms in Kansas City Tuesday were the 12th straight day that at least eight tornadoes were reported to the National Weather Service.
After several quiet years, the past couple of weeks have seen an explosion of tornado activity with no end to the pattern in sight.
But the Kansas City metropolitan area of about 2.1 million people appeared to have been spared the direct hit that was feared earlier in the evening when the weather service announced a tornado emergency.
“The heart of KC is in this tornado warning! This is a dangerous situation. TAKE SHELTER NOW!” the NWS Kansas City office tweeted. The tornado warning for metro Kansas City was over by 7:35 p.m. CT, but there were reports of dangerous weather moving through Missouri.
Assistant Director Jillian Roderigue told CBS Kansas City affiliate KCTV that Douglas County Emergency Management received a report of a tornado about 6:10 p.m. Monday near the small community of Lone Star, southwest of Lawrence.
The city of about 100,000 residents is home to the University of Kansas. It is about 50 miles southwest of the Kansas City International Airport.
The tornado is part of a massive severe weather system in the central United States that has produced tornado activity for eight straight days. More than 500 tornadoes have been reported in the past month.
Mark Duffin, 48, learned from his wife and a television report that the large tornado was headed toward his home in Linwood, about 30 miles west of Kansas City.
The next thing he knew, the walls of his house were coming down.
Duffin told the Kansas City Star that he grabbed a mattress, followed his 13-year-old to the basement and protected the two of them with the mattress as the home crashed down around them.
“I’m just glad I found my two dogs alive,” he said. “Wife’s alive, family’s alive, I’m alive. So, that’s it.”