Massive rain-wrapped tornado passes south of Lawrence
Tornado emergencies and warnings were issued Tuesday evening as a severe storm swept through east-central Kansas and the Kansas City area.
A warning that was issued in northeastern Clay County and northwestern Ray County expired just before 8:30 p.m., but the National Weather Service in Kansas City said it was “keeping an eye on this storm” as it moved east.
At 8:20 p.m., the National Weather Service said a “large and extremely dangerous tornado” was observed over Excelsior Estates, moving northeast at 30 mph. There were “possibly two tornadoes,” it tweeted, as the storm tore through the area.
In a tweet at 8:08 p.m., the National Weather Service said a “strong tornado” was on the ground, heading toward Excelsior Estates. It warned that Excelsior Springs Hospital was close to, possibly in the path of the storm.
At 8:02 p.m., a storm “capable of producing a tornado” was observed over Kearney, moving east at 35 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Kansas City.
At 7:50 p.m., a storm “capable of producing a tornado” was observed near Liberty, moving east at 35 mph.
“We have a report of a rotating wall cloud near Kearney, MO. (near I-35) with the storm in Clay County, MO,” the weather service posted on Twitter shortly after posting a warning for Clay County. “If you are in this warning, take shelter now!”
Storm debris closed airfields at Kansas City International Airport, according to a tweet the airport posted at 8:10 p.m. At 7:02 p.m., the airport tweeted that it moved “customers into the parking garage tunnels to shelter in place.” The all-clear was given at 7:45 p.m.
A tornado warning that was issued for parts of Wyandotte and Johnson counties in Kansas and Clay, Platte and Jackson counties in Missouri has since been canceled.
“Although the warning has been canceled, don’t let your guard down! Hail and strong winds are still possible, so stay inside and be prepared to take shelter if necessary,” the National Weather Service in Kansas City tweeted.
Edwin Birch, a spokesman for Unified government, said in a text message Tuesday evening: “No casualties reported yet. Still assessing damage. Right now, a few uprooted trees, reports of damage to structures and power outages.”
The warning in the Kansas City area was prompted by a “large and extremely dangerous tornado” located over Edwardsville, Kansas, moving east at 30 mph, the weather service reported.
“The heart of KC is in this tornado warning! This is a dangerous situation! TAKE SHELTER NOW!,” the weather service posted in a tweet at 7:21 p.m.
At 6:58 p.m., the tornado was located near Bonner Springs, continuing northeast.
At 6:53 p.m., the weather service warned of the tornado “still on the ground,” approaching Interstate 70.
At 6:34 p.m., a tornado emergency was issued for parts of Wyandotte, Johnson and Leavenworth counties due to a “large and destructive tornado” seen over Eudora, moving northeast at 45 mph.
Earlier, at 6:18 p.m., a “large tornado on the ground” was seen moving toward southeast Lawrence and Eudora, the National Weather Service in Topeka said. It was urging residents to take cover.
At 6:10 p.m., a tornado was reported south of Lone Star, moving northeast, the National Weather Service in Topeka said in a tweet. It went on to say that its radar “confirmed debris from the tornado” about a mile east of Lone Star.
At 6:02 p.m., “tornadic circulation” was seen south of Clinton Lake, the weather service said in a tweet. The storm would likely be “difficult to see,” it continued.
A severe thunderstorm “capable of producing a tornado” was first observed near Pomona Lake at 5:41 p.m., moving northeast at 35 mph, the weather service said.
On Twitter, people have been posting photos and videos of the storm and sharing reports of damage:
The Star’s Steve Vockrodt contributed to this story.