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Archive for Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Memorable storm

March 14, 2006

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In the aftermath of Sunday's storm some bright spots emerged.

Although many portions of Lawrence were left looking like a war zone, the city should be grateful that the wind storm that passed through the city Sunday morning resulted in no deaths and few injuries.

Local officials continued Monday to tally the losses from the storm that struck the city with tornadic force. Kansas University officials told Gov. Kathleen Sebelius after she toured the damage from the air that it would cost $6 million to repair campus structures.

Throughout Lawrence, roofs, spires and awnings were ripped from their moorings. Uprooted and broken trees embedded themselves in buildings and crushed vehicles with apparent ease. Power still was out in parts of the city Monday, but crews were whittling away at repairs.

Despite all the damage, many bright spots emerged from the storm. Neighbors stepped up to help neighbors find shelter and protect their belongings. In areas where traffic lights weren't functioning, motorists showed unusual patience and courtesy in negotiating busy intersections.

Fans able to find a location where the power was on got a welcome lift from watching the Jayhawk basketball team power past the Texas Longhorns to win the Big 12 tournament Sunday afternoon. KU students got another day to study for midterms when the university canceled classes for a day to facilitate campus cleanup.

Although some residents faced grim housing and transportation challenges following the storm, everyone interviewed acknowledged that the situation could have been much worse. Quick action by neighbors and law enforcement personnel gave people the sense that, despite the upheaval, the situation was under control.

Although emergency personnel had been watching the storm for about 30 minutes, they said they had little warning there was anything unusual about the storm before the furious winds hit the city. Whether it was a tornado, a microburst or just a big Kansas wind, many local residents certainly will have stories to tell about the storm of March 2006.

Thankfully, those stories mostly will be about damage to property instead of injuries to people - and about the many residents and agencies that offered a helping hand in the aftermath of the storm.

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