Archive for Saturday, July 17, 2004

Rain, winds pelt K.C. area

July 17, 2004

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— A band of severe storms with heavy rain swept into the Kansas City area early Friday from northwest Missouri, causing flash-flooding and some power outages from fallen limbs and trees.

In the Kansas City area, morning commuters found traffic moving slowly, and some streets were flooded because of the heavy rain, with a few vehicles stalling in high water. Lee's Summit had 2.44 inches of rain as of 7 a.m., with 1.83 inches in downtown Kansas City and 1.06 at Kansas City International Airport, the National Weather Service said.

A battalion chief with the Lee's Summit Fire Department was out spotting the storm north of the city when his vehicle was struck by lightning. The vehicle stopped running and the strike tossed some pavement debris onto it, but the chief was not hurt.

Pat Cooper of the National Weather Service office in Pleasant Hill said there were reports of winds up to 80 or 90 mph in the Liberty area, and large hail was also reported.

She said one person reported seeing what appeared to be a tornado, but the Weather Service had not confirmed that.

"We did have reliable reports of a wall cloud, which is a precursor to tornadoes," Cooper said.

She said the storm system developed in the northwest corner of the state, causing extremely heavy rain in parts of Andrew and Buchanan counties, then made its way through the Kansas City metro area and on into southwestern and south-central Missouri.

George Amos, another Weather Service meteorologist, said the St. Joseph airport received about 2 inches of rain, but east of there in northern Buchanan and southern Andrew counties the rainfall totals ranged between 4 and 6 inches.

"We got buckets and buckets of rain," said Sgt. Roger Latham of the Andrew County Sheriff's Department. Latham, also the Andrew County emergency management director, said the rain caused short-lived surface flooding, with the water receding quickly after the storm passed.

"It wasn't caused by creeks," he said. "None of the rivers are out, although several are bank-full."

Latham said the winds weren't as strong as those that hit farther to the south in the Kansas City area, and he had no reports of any significant damage.

Lt. Bill Buchanan of the Buchanan County Sheriff's Department said gravel was washed onto some roads because of the heavy rains. He said some limbs were down, but there were no reports of significant damage.

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