Tornadoes strafe northeast Kansas in latest spasm of storms

Saul Bowman
May 31, 2019

People watch from the Liberty Memorial as a severe storm that dropped several tornadoes earlier approaches downtown Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, shortly before striking Douglas County, Kansas. It was expected to pass near the popular Legends Outlets Kansas City shopping area near the state border, located close to Kansas Speedway.

There were no immediate reports of injuries but some homes suffered significant damage. "At that point, we kind of stopped and said 'maybe we shouldn't be in here", Marie Raffay said.

At least 75 homes were damaged in the area, said Madison County Emergency Management spokesperson Todd Harmeson.

The tornado is the latest product of a pattern of severe weather that has ravaged the central United States in recent days, devastating parts of Oklahoma, Ohio and Missouri.

The National Weather Service says a tornado classified as an EF3 hit Trotwood just west of Dayton, with another touchdown just east of Dayton in Greene County.

The severe weather that spawned tornadoes in Kansas and Missouri Tuesday also brought heavy rains that helped set a new record for the wettest May in Kansas City, according to the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill.

More than 39 million people are under enhanced risk of severe weather in areas stretching from Texas through the midwest and into the north-east, a CNN meteorologist said. Some five million people were without power early Tuesday in OH alone. Airport spokesman Joe McBride says debris that included pots, plants and wall panels was apparently blown to Kansas City from a tornado that struck Linwood, Kansas, 47 miles to the southwest.

"Tornadoes are one of the most destructive things we have".

Elizabeth Long, spokeswoman for the Kettering Health Network serving the Dayton region, says about 35 people were treated for storm-related cuts, bumps and bruises at the system's four emergency departments.

The mayor said five busloads of displaced residents have been taken to a church offering temporary shelter while the American Red Cross assesses needs.

Parts of Kansas and Pennsylvania are recovering from Tuesday's terrifying evening of tornadoes.

After the twisters, Ohio Department of Transportation crews used snow plows to clear highways of debris.

The storms were among 53 twisters that forecasters said may have touched down Monday across eight states stretching eastward from Idaho and Colorado.

Towns outside of Dayton, including Beavercreek and Northwood, were among those hit the hardest.

Francis Dutmers and his wife headed for the basement of their home in Vandalia, about 16 kilometres outside Dayton, when the storm hit with a "very loud roar" Monday night.

There are only four other recorded instances when more than 500 U.S. tornadoes were observed in a 30-day period: in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011, according to Patrick Marsh, a meteorologist with the weather service's Storm Prediction Center.

"It was a terrible night", says Kathleen Wood Howe, 62, who hid in her closet for five hours while the storm raged in her hometown of Kettering, a town outside Dayton.

Scientists say climate change is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather such as storms, droughts, floods and fires, but without extensive study they can not directly link a single weather event to the changing climate.

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