Archive for Friday, May 2, 2008

Douglas County cleaning up after overnight storm

Utility crews inspect the roof of Whelan's Lumber, 1516 W 6th St., which blew onto Florida St. after a powerful storm slammed Lawrence early Friday morning, May 2, 2008.  The roof took down power lines and damaged neighboring property.

Utility crews inspect the roof of Whelan's Lumber, 1516 W 6th St., which blew onto Florida St. after a powerful storm slammed Lawrence early Friday morning, May 2, 2008. The roof took down power lines and damaged neighboring property.

May 2, 2008, 1:28 a.m. Updated May 2, 2008, 3:38 p.m.


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Cleaning up after the storm

The storms on May 2, 2008, have given area residents a lot of work to do in the morning. Enlarge video

Damage from the May 2, 2008 storm

The May 2, 2008 storm downed trees and caused power outages throughout Lawrence. Enlarge video

Severe Weather in the Sunflower State

Take a look at the stormy history of spring weather in Kansas.

Residents in Lawrence and the surrounding area are assessing damage and cleaning up Friday morning after a severe thunderstorm struck shortly after 1 a.m.

Many trees and buildings were damaged during the storm, including a mobile home in North Lawrence that was hit by a falling tree and Langston Hughes Elementary School, where about one-third of the gymnasium roof blew off. In addition, a tin roof blew off a Whelan's Lumber storage building at 1516 W. Sixth St. and remains on the road on Florida Street.

Just what was that?

Indications are that Douglas County experienced straight line winds in excess of 80 mph, said 6News Chief Meteorologist Jennifer Schack.

And 6News Meteorologist Matt Elwell says that the National Weather Service in Topeka has only received reports of damage from straight line winds. There has been no confirmation that any tornadoes touched down.

The National Weather Service has teams out Friday morning to assess damage in eastern Kansas. Official storm assessments are expected to be filed by early Friday afternoon.

Brush drop-off site open

Due to tree damage created from Friday morning's storm, the City of Lawrence's brush drop-off site will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

There will be no charge for drop off during this period at the site, 1420 E. 11th St.

All wood debris, tree limbs and brush from citizens' private property will be accepted, but no leaves or trash will be taken. The limbs will be chipped and used as mulch throughout the city.

Private tree materials not taken to the drop-off site must be properly bundled and placed with trash for removal. It will then be taken to the landfill. Bundles for refuse pickup should not exceed 5 feet in length, 18 inches in diameter or 65 pounds per bundle.

For more information, call the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, 832-3450.

The loud boom

When Friday morning's storm ripped through Lawrence, it literally ripped through Paul Brandenburger's living room.

And his master bathroom. A tree struck his house, cracking the trusses, sending water cascading through the ceiling throughout his house.

As Brandenburger, a Kansas University graduate student, was working on a paper about 1 a.m., his wife came out of the bedroom as a loud boom echoed through their house.

The tree - though they didn't know it at the time.

"My wife took the kids downstairs and I went to go look for a flashlight," he said. "I walked into our bedroom and all of the sudden there was water coming in from the master bathroom. That wasn't good. Then when I walked into the living room, there was more."

The ceilings caved in this morning.

Brandenburger said a tree service and restoration company were at his house already Friday morning working to repair the damage. He's been in contact with his insurance companies but had no idea how much all the damage would cost. The only bill he's gotten already, though, is for the tree removal: $900.

Now all he needs is bills to repair the damage to the structure of his house, his roof, replace insulation in his attic and rebuild the ceilings. Oh, and he'll need some money for his family's cars. Those were hit by the tree, too.

In the dark

The storm blew out power to as many as 8,700 Westar Energy customers in Douglas County. But as of 3:30 p.m. Friday, that number was down to about 210. In Leavenworth County, about 1,630 Westar customers were without power at 3:30 p.m.

Steve Foss, general manager of Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative, said that up to 400 customers were without power over night. However, by 8:30 a.m., nearly all customers' power was restored - with only five outages reported. Those customers are north of Tonganoxie in Leavenworth County.

"Overall, I'd say we came out pretty good," Foss said.

Classes at Langston Hughes started on schedule Friday morning, but in the Wellsville school district, the start of classes was delayed by two hours - to 9:45 a.m. - because district buildings lost electricity during the storm.

Langston Hughes physical education teacher Reenie Stogsdill said that when she came to work Friday morning, water was on the gym floor, which was beginning to buckle.

Tumbling trees

The tree that fell on the mobile home on Perry Street in North Lawrence damaged the home so severely that the family who lives there was set up at the Holidome, according to Jane Blocher of the Douglas County chapter of the American Red Cross.

Carole Staus, who has lived northeast of Peterson and Folks roads since 1964, said at least three trees on her property were down.

"These are probably the worst winds that we've had since I've been out here," she said.

In Baldwin

Baldwin resident Mike Brungardt had called the city on Thursday about a tree in his front yard, concerned that if the old tree went, it would take out a power line. He watched in amazement around 1:15 a.m. Friday when half that scenario played out.

"I looked out and it was hanging over the lines and was going," said Brungardt. "Then, the tree did a pirouette and fell where it is. It missed almost everything. It didn't take the power line and didn't hit any of the planters. It did take the cable line and that little maple tree, but Mary (his wife) said that's OK.

"The Lord works in strange and mysterious ways," he said.

A few blocks south of there, Ed and Phyllis Booth lost a 30-foot Bradford pear tree. The wind, hail and rain was whipping around their home at 1016 Jersey so much that they didn't hear anything when the tree snapped like kindling.

"It was so noisy," said Ed Booth. "We couldn't hear anything. When I looked out in the back yard, it looked different, but I didn't know why. Then I realized the Bradford pear was gone.

"The wind was going 80 mph," said Booth. "We only got seven-tenths (of rain), but the rain was going sideways."

There were also reports of barn damage at Blake McCall's home at 1474 N. 300 Road and other wind damage at Alden Bradley's home three miles east of Vinland.

Soccer rescheduled

Wind damage at Free State High's soccer field forced the school to postpone Friday afternoon's scheduled match with Leavenworth.

Portions of a fence were knocked down by the overnight storm, FSHS athletic director Mike Hill said. The match has not been rescheduled.

Meanwhile, the Firebirds' scheduled soccer match against Olathe North on Thursday night at ODAC was called off because of lightning and rescheduled for next Wednesday.

In Tonganoxie

The storm knocked out power in Tonganoxie for an estimated two to three hours Friday morning, according to Tonganoxie City Fire Department Capt. John Callaghan.

"About a third to half of town was without power," he said.

Mainly, Callaghan noted, firefighters dealt with electrical issues, including a power line that went down and energized a chain-link fence.

"We babysat that for a couple hours before the power company could get there and disconnect it," Callaghan said.


Soapdish 10 years, 1 month ago

Long night here in SE Topeka, hope all is well for you all. Sirens went off for us (we could barely hear them over the wind) but not for very long and the weather people seemed more concerned about the Perry-Lecompton area. Perhaps that's why no sirens in Lawrence...

iloveyoutoo 10 years, 1 month ago

haha, you're funny ksdivakat. Back to my question, even if it were a FACT that they are designed to warn people OUTSIDE only (since I'm sure you can prove that absolutely NO ONE inside hears these sirens) how does that justify the fact that they were not used last night for, as you put it, what they are "designed" for?

monkeyhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

A tornado warning is a tornado warning ...period. You think people should stop to analyze if it is a hook echo, bow echo, straight line winds or an actual twister before they decide what to do? Anyone who was out at that time last night, (maybe in the area where the tree fell across Iowa or where the roof blew off Whelan's) might have liked to have been warned. If the sirens are for "people outside", why weren't they sounded, especially in light of the fact that there was no tornado warning when the microburst occurred, yet sirens were sounded long after the fact?Who are you trying to cover for?

ohjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago


mom_of_three 10 years, 1 month ago

Does anyone else think channel 6 and the radio did a good job last night? Sure helped me figure out what was going on.

Laura Wilson 10 years, 1 month ago

At around 1:15 a.m. KLZR reported northwestern Douglas including Lawrence was under a tornado warning. It would be nice if this newspaper would get the facts straight. I didn't hear the sirens either (and I was awake) but with that wind I'm not surprised. Still, we got off lucky. Watch the KC news this morning to see major devastation in North KC and Gladstone.

true_patriot 10 years, 1 month ago

Not sure why people are defending not sounding the sirens during a tornado warning (not a watch - there is a huge difference). There were reports of a tornado on the ground SE of Topeka heading NE "towards Clinton Lake and Lawrence". A separate funnel (not on the ground) was reported by a trained spotter just south of Lawrence right in the middle of the tornado warning period.The cells showed definite rotational activity on radar.Whether it was straight line winds or a combination of events, North Kansas City clearly shows why sounding the sirens is so critical when you have a massive organized wall of dangerous cells like the one this morning - while Lawrence was getting hit with 70 to 80 mph winds, all it takes is just a little last ,minute surge up to 110 to 120 mph like the same storms produced just a bit NE of here and suddenly you have roofs ripped off of houses.I hope the LJW does it's duty and investigated why the sirens didn't sound and reports to Lawrencians why not so they'll understand that when a massive storm hits they can't necessarily depend on the sirens to make them aware.

TopJayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Multidisciplinary,,,,LOL....Except I think that would cause the horses to winney too.

geniusmannumber1 10 years, 1 month ago

Don't know about Channel 6--power went out--but local radio was right on it. Impressed.

ohjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

"It is impossible for a tornado to form when rain is present. Rain is a downdraft event and a tornado is an updraft event, now a tornado can be "rainwrapped" which means that it is completely encased in rain all around it, but it is impossible for it to be raining AND have a tornado at the same time."This is partially true, but keep in mind that the storm is not static. The storm moves, and the same storm that produces the tornado does have rain with it just not in the same part. Meaning even though you are in rain to start with, the back-end, rain-free portion of the storm may still be moving toward you. So, while the portion of the storm where the tornado forms is rain-free, that same storm 99% of the time does produce rain in some portion of it.Here is a diagram of a classic supercell.

alm77 10 years, 1 month ago

We live near the Hyvee on 6th and there is NO WAY we would've been able to hear the sirens over that storm anyway. The wind was roaring louder than anything I've ever heard before.

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

By the way Multi.....please Im me and let me get your number and we will get a crew of people together for you to help ya out!

zkcnetssc 10 years, 1 month ago

The Sirens should have been sounded. The NWS relayed this as a Tornado Warning because of the Straight Line Winds

zkcnetssc 10 years, 1 month ago

I don't want Californias or New Yorks Coal Fired Energy plant here in KS. What, your not afraid of the dark are you Keith

Dan Edwards 10 years, 1 month ago

KCTV Weather coverage showed there was a hook echo in the storm that was tracking through Douglas County (hence the tornado warning) but well north of Lawrence. That's probably why our sirens were not sounded.I really doubt there were any tornadoes in or around Lawrence with this storm. There was a huge bow echo on the radar--that's why the (straight-line) winds were so intense--apparently a 70mph wind gust was recorded at the Lawrence airport.

day 10 years, 1 month ago

Keith:In wind like that a wind turbine would be shut down and the blades locked into position. If they were allowed to run in that kind of wind they would tear themselves apart.

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

Unfortunately the truth of the matter is that no matter what would have been doen people would have been bitching, if they would have sounded them then there would have been bloggers on here pi$$ed off because they sounded the sirens with no tornado and woke them up, so you cant please everyone no matter what you do.But there has to be a system of balances and checks, and if there is no spotter confirmed tornado, then you cant just willy nilly blow the sirens....that is dangerous in itself.

alfie 10 years, 1 month ago

People quit your complaining, your all alive! In the good old days what did all the people do then, take care of it yourself. beside the fact there was no tornado lastnite

monkeyhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

"The severe thunderstorm warning issued for Douglas County last night expired at 1:45 a.m., and the tornado watch is no longer in effect."Douglas county was under a tornado warning at this time according to Topeka stations. Why isn't LJW reporting that?? Could it be the fact that sirens were not sounded to alert the citizens yet again?If we cannot feel that we are safe, or at the very least alerted to impending danger, how is anyone supposed to have even the slightest confidence in this city? This is outrageous.

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

A microburst isnt a tornado! If the sirens were sounded everytime we went under a tornado watch, pretty soon its like crying wolf, and nobody is gonna believe it.When was the last "tornado" here in douglas county?? it was 2003, so who wants to hear that go off everytime we get a wind gust through here??unfortunately a roof or a tree blowing over doesnt require blowing the sirens. You have to be carful sounding those, because in cases where nothing is produced, people start nay-saying about them and then when there really is one....nobody will take it seriously.By the way....not sure who I would be covering for.....LOL

bejuba 10 years, 1 month ago

Just now starting to get some lightning and 2:43 am.

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

Also, please understand it is not the national weather service who makes the decision to sound the sirens. Its each individual county and for Douglas co, its the local EOC, and they make that decision based on trained spotter activity. I never heard 1 spotter confirm rotation with that warning, in fact it was just hte opposite, they could NOT confirm rotation. As I mentioned, the warning was sparked due to dopler radar picking it up, which can and does get it wrong quite often.It depends on the position of the dopler and which way the winds are blowing.Sounding the sirens are a very serious matter, as I mentioned, what you get is the preverbial crying wolf, if you sound them everytime there is wind.Even at NOT sounding the sirens, in 2003 when that tornado went through, they sounded the sirens and there were so many people who stepped out on their porches to watch it, until the storm was right over them, this is very simply cannot cry wolf when there is NO confirmed tornado on the ground, this would be irresponsible of the county.Again I would encourage people to buy a weather radio, that is what will keep you updated in the event of severe weather.

monkeyhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

"A microburst isnt a tornado!"... that is my point, exactly. But, sirens were sounded for that occurrence, after the fact.

fascinating_person 10 years, 1 month ago

I agree with ksdivacat - tornado sirens are TORNADO sirens - not meant to alert us to other weather emergencies. I imagine there'd be twice the bitching on this board if the sirens WERE sounded without a confirmed tornado.Remember the microburst? Remember how the tornado siren system was down? The next day I was walking around the Oread neighborhood and downtown, taking pictures of the damage. I was in South Park when multiple police cars pulled out from the station and began heading in different directions announcing over their loudspeakers that there was a "tornado coming" and to "seek cover immediately". I watched a family of four who had been strolling in the park break into a mad sprint. I saw a woman dashing while pushing a stroller. It was just short of pandemonium as people frantically tried to get back home. I speed-walked back to my apartment a few blocks away, which still had no power, and tried to figure out what was going on. Long story short: there never was any tornado, and although I'm confident that the decision-makers in this type of situation meant the best, I was agitated that so many people were forced to run home in fear for a tornado that didn't exist.On a different note - the reason I logged on here in the first place - did anyone else see the sky turn NEON BLUE around 1:20am? I've never seen anything like that in my entire life, and I know I'm not crazy - it happened 3 times within about a minute. I never knew nature could produce such a color.

monkeyspunk 10 years, 1 month ago

ksdivakat and all those people defending the silence of the sirens:I did a search, and nearly every city/county has a policy that says if an area is under a Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service, the sirens sound. In some places they sound for other reasons, but the NWS tornado warning is the one consistent event. One area even describes their siren as "a device used to announce a tornado warning."Search "siren policy tornado warning" on Google.If the NWS issues a Tornado Warning for Lawrence, KS like the did last night, they should have sounded the sirens.

nut_case 10 years, 1 month ago

Given the recent history, I wouldn't trust those sirens to warn me if a cake was done baking...much less save my life in the event of severe weather. It definitely pays to have some other type of warning system besides those silly things.

dirkleisure 10 years, 1 month ago

The weather event itself is immaterial in the sounding of sirens.The sounding of sirens should rely upon a single source - the National Weather Service.Tornado Warning issued = sirens.Even if the sirens sound and it turns out not so much as a drop of rain falls in Lawrence, that sort of anecdote is immaterial.Tornado Warning issued = sirens.For an idea as to why the LJ World doesn't seem to care, check out this story from their sister organization, KTKA in Topeka: sirens are obsolete!

ohjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

ksdivakat - I agree wholeheartedly that people should own a weather radio. They are quite inexpensive and a very valuable asset in any home/office/school, etc. However, not sounding sirens without confirmation by a person is not feasible. True, doppler radar does not always show that a tornado is on the ground, but that doesn't mean that one isn't going to drop at any second. If there is a storm cell with strong rotation (strong enough that the NWS issues a tornado warning), the few seconds/minutes that the sirens sound BEFORE the tornado may drop may save lives. If the people in charge of the sirens wait to sound them until it is confirmed that one is already on the ground causing damage, how do you explain that to the people who's houses may have been in the path of that tornado? Especially if the NWS had issued a tornado warning 5 minutes earlier based upon rotation?

Angela Heili 10 years, 1 month ago

The tornado sirens are there to alert people to take cover. Last night when I checked the weather alerts, it did in fact say to take cover because of the tornado warning!Have you driven around town and seen the damage? Don't you think that was enough reason to take cover? Sound the darn sirens!!!!!My neighbors were very angry that they were woken by the sound of the wind and not the sirens and got the kids in the basement. They got the radio going and discovered that we had been in a tornado warning for 25 minutes!! We aren't asking for the sirens to be sounded willy nilly. There was a tornado WARNING, not watch, but WARNING issued. Sometimes by the time those spotters see a tornado, it doesn't give people time to get out of the way, especially in that immediate area!Those of us that are angry, are angry because we have children that we want protected. Dang it, our tax dollars went into paying for those sirens, now use them!!

davidsmom 10 years, 1 month ago

I haven't seen any reports yet of damage to any KU buildings, so I'm glad for that. I live in NE Overland Park and last night's winds were the strongest and most sustaining I've ever heard in my life. We did hear sirens quite a lot earlier in the evening.

fu7il3 10 years, 1 month ago

To the guy living next door who installed that really nice looking fence last weekend - "Damn."

ohjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

I'm with Dirk on this one. There was a tornado warning issued that included Lawrence. The sirens should have sounded, whether there was an actual tornado on the ground or not. (And I'm not saying there was a tornado, I simply cannot make that call.) It seems that Lawrence/Douglas Co. has been doing things weird for years. I graduated in 1995 with a degree in Atmospheric Sciences from KU, and even back then there was no rhyme or reason to when the sirens would sound. Most of the time, though, it was the opposite of what happened last night. The sirens would go off without a tornado warning having been issued. That is ALMOST more excuseable because they may get word from a trained spotter even before word gets to the NWS. However, the fact remains the sirens should be sounded when a tornado warning is issued.

Kristen Murphy 10 years, 1 month ago

We had horrible wind around 1:30 am in Tongie. I have been through tornadoes before and the wind shook the house like it was a tornado. Despite no sirens - I still made my family go downstairs until it died down. I wasn't about take any chances.

TopJayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

I'm at work here in Topeka, and our sirens went off, yet we weren't in a Tornado warning. All quiet now.

OnlyTheOne 10 years, 1 month ago

Anonymous userKEITHMILES05 (Anonymous) says:If there were wind turbines making the power for Lawrence there would be NO power outages.It's not polite to bait the trolls......

squishypoet 10 years, 1 month ago

Good thing I live in a basement... I slept through the entire thing. Guess I should go check on my car.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 1 month ago

If there were wind turbines making the power for Lawrence there would be NO power outages.Food for thought for those who desire no new energy plants.

dirkleisure 10 years, 1 month ago

If a tornado warning is issued, I don't care if there is an actual tornado or not. The sirens must sound.I appreciate all the lengthy explanations, but it is truly that simple. National Weather Service issues a tornado warning = sirens. No qualifiers.The fact that the sirens were not sounded should be immediately investigated.This was a serious breach of public safety.

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

Because by the time the storm actually hit the city limits it had died down significantly, thats why they were not sounded. If your so angry and upset about it, I suggest you call EOC and ask for an accounting of the reasons why, instread of blowing smoke on a blog just to be bitching.

JayhawkerMS 10 years, 1 month ago

There's no power around 6th & Wakarusa. I can't say for certain that a tornado passed through here but I've certainly never felt a house shake as much or make noises like I heard earlier.

true_patriot 10 years, 1 month ago

Strange logic here in the defense of not sounding sirens. I also notice the JW article didn't report on a lot of the storm damage that is reported on Weather Underground and the Kansas City stations, and isn't even acknowledging that it was a tornado warning that was issued last night and not a severe thunderstorm warning. It was a tornado warning - at least according to the weather radio and the National Weather Service. If they've got that wrong, what else do they have wrong? Some of the logic that should be questioned:1. Don't bother because people might go outside rather than take shelter (nevermind that sirens have saved so many lives in the past several years, especially during night time weather events).2. Can't because people might acuse EOC of crying wolf (nevermind what they would cry if a funnel touched down and killed several people).3. "When i was a kid, we didn't HAVE sirens" - you're not a kid, a lot of things have chanced since then.4. If the kind of damage we saw in Lawence at its most severe (roof partially off a school, partially off a business) had been caused by a weak F1 tornado from a potentially tornadic cell, then it would have been okay to sound the sirens. But if the exact same damage is caused by 80 to 100 mph straight line or microburst winds from potentially tornadic cells, then the sirens should not have been sounded. It's that kind of semantic confusion that ignores the concrete results of these kinds of events and puts people's lives in danger.

mom_of_three 10 years, 1 month ago

"People quit your complaining, your all alive! In the good old days what did all the people do then, take care of it yourself."well, alfie, that's why so many more died - no warnings. I don't know, where or how the sirens go off. Sounds like there should be some consistency. But i think we can agree that it's more stressful on citizens (and authorities) during the night, because you can't see much outside. I am usually the calm one, but not being able to see much outside, and being awakened from a dead sleep made me very nervous.

PJ Karasek 10 years, 1 month ago

I live in SW Lawrence (near aberdeen so I remember our last tornado) and I agree with the previous comments about house shaking and jet engines, never lost power though.

Hawk6643 10 years, 1 month ago

I live around 6th and Wakaruska, and I don't know if it was a tornado or not, but the winds I heard did not sound like straight-line winds. Both my neighbor and I have water coming down our ceilings and inbetween our walls, we have a firetruck at the next building over and 3 police men at the other building next to me. So much for sleep!

Tara Painter 10 years, 1 month ago

You all need to go back to school, only tornado sirens go off when a, I don't know a tornado is here. All it was last night was damageing winds and some hail I was here in March of 2006 and that was not even it. Here on this side of town ( Harper st) was not hit too bad with no power out. We are always the one with power out so for once I'm glad it's not us. Too many people over rectact, maybe you all should watch Ch 6 news for once and you know why the sirens didn't go off.

Ragingbear 10 years, 1 month ago

I used to live in Alabama, where we would get storms all the time. Just because there are high winds, some minor hail, a metric buttload of lightning and it was really nasty does NOT mean that there is a tornado. For those who claim that they drove through a tornado, I have some news for you. If you actually had, you would probably be wrapped around a tree, or something right now. They were just high winds. It was just a nasty thunderstorm. You can have those without tornadoes.

ohjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

"NWS warnings are frequently overly broad, resulting in over warning. Following them like a blind goose would result in sirens in sunshine. Literally. Then people will ignore the sirens."That used to be the case. Just in the past several months, though, the NWS has started issuing warnings just for the cells and the paths of those cells. Therefore, if there is a tornado warning in northern Douglas Co, the sirens in the southern part of the county do not need to be sounded because they are not covered by the warning. Last night's warning included Lawrence, meaning the sirens in Lawrence should have been sounded.Also, in response to local control, again I say that would be fine if the local people had the training/authority to issue weather warnings. Since they do not, how can the usurp that authority from those that do? Also, like someone mentioned above, there are not that many tornado warnings in any given year. To sound them only during warnings, in combination with the smaller warning areas, should not be enough to cause people to ignore them.Also, no one has rebutted what I've said about tornados touching down without much warning (other than by doppler radar). What happens if a tornado warning is issued and the Douglas Co EOC decides not to blow sirens because a spotter hasn't seen one on the ground. In the next 10 seconds a funnel forms and touches down... right on top of a house. The spotter calls in to the EOC and THEN the sirens sound (probably another 10 seconds from touchdown - at which point the tornado has taken out two more houses). The people in these houses are like some of the posters on here and think everything is ok because they don't hear sirens. How would they explain that? Instead, if they sound the sirens at the time of the warning, perhaps those people take cover before the tornado touches down. I know this is overly dramatic, but it's not completely out of the realm of possibility.I wholeheartedly agree with ksdivakat about the weather radio. That should be your first and foremost authority (even above TV, radio, sirens).

lori 10 years, 1 month ago

There's no way we would have heard a siren at our house; the wind was too loud. Somehow we survived without the sirens.

ohjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

DaREEKKU - There is a difference between things "looking nasty" and a tornado warning having been issued by the National Weather Service. The NWS doesn't willy nilly issue tornado warnings unless there is very strong proof that conditions are right that a tornado could be occuring. The fact is a tornado warning was issued, and that should be an automatic trigger of the tornado warning sirens.

justthefacts 10 years, 1 month ago

Sounding sirens in the middle of the night is a bother - especially if the winds do not kill anyone - but how else are people who are ASLEEP (and not in a safe place ) going to know a tornado warning has been issued!??? And isn't that what the sirens are for - to WARN people - who may not otherwise know - about a tornado warning being issued?

Brenda Bohannan 10 years, 1 month ago

The sirens in Lecompton did sound either. Usually the sirens don't sound in Lecompton until after they have sounded in Lawrence.

Rob Zerwekh 10 years, 1 month ago

Over in the Kansas City area, it sounded like a hurricane; continuous wind and thunder roared like a jet engine for ten minutes. Then, it was gone, and 20 degrees cooler. How we never lost power is beyond me, considering a stiff breeze will cause the lights to flicker. The radar clearly showed a powerful bow echo/derecho - no tornado. Spotters had bad information.

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

Parrysmom... I certainly understand the anger and the helplessness feeling that this can tend to bring, but again, I want to stress that the sirens are NOT designated to alert people INSIDE a structure, they are designated to alert people who are OUTSIDE.That being said, with the strength of the wind it is probable that had they sounded the sirens, most people would not have heard them unless they are directly under the siren. Then what?? Then the argument is get more sirens closer to everyone, we have plenty of sirens, and the system is good, its not perfect but its better than alot.When radar indicates a tornado is indicating all kinds of different measurements, NWS then makes a decision to post the warning to give people a heads up, given this was at 1:00 a.m most people were asleep, with the wind and the rain, likely, most would not have heard it.Im thankful there were no injuries to people, and I strongly, strongly suggest that people invest in the weather radio....THIS is your certain warning, no matter what time of the day or night and no matter if the sirens are sounded or not.

filterX 10 years, 1 month ago

I'm pretty sure I just drove through a tornado in N/NW Lawrence, wasn't entirely sure that my car was going to stay on the road ...

julz 10 years, 1 month ago

My weather radio did not go off because my power was out (and batteries were apparently dead) but I was awakened by the load roaring outside. I'm off 6th by HyVee - it was very intense and I believe it was a tornado. Lived in Kansas all my life and have not heard anything like it ever before.

DaREEKKU 10 years, 1 month ago

Okay, so the next time things "look nasty" we'll just arbitrarily sound the sirens just for the hell of it....geesh.....

Bubarubu 10 years, 1 month ago

From the DG Emergency Mgmt site: "The outdoor warning sirens for any or all of the cities in Douglas County are activated when a local determination is made that a tornado threat to the area exists. This determination is made by Douglas County Emergency Management staff and will be based on the evaluation of all available information. This may include, but is not limited to, National Weather Service watch and/or warning text, weather radar and reports from trained weather spotters or law enforcement officers." warnings are not, in and of themselves, sufficient to sound the sirens. dirk, and anyone who thinks differently, is simply wrong. No spotters reported rotation or funnels, ergo, no sirens.

filterX 10 years, 1 month ago

I mean, starting at 13th-15th, and further north, from Kentucky to Kasold.

geekin_topekan 10 years, 1 month ago

When I was a lad, the closest siren to our house was 15 miles away.How ever did we survive?Well, we watched the skies,used our heads and if we felt threatened we headed for the storm shelter.I dont count on the nws to make these decisions for me.Here in S Lawrence,instead of running around saying "we are all going to die!", I took my chances under my covers with my windows open for effect.Slept very well.

Raider 10 years, 1 month ago

At 2;46am, I heard three loud 'booms' that sounded just like the microburst of 05'. Then, I heard the roaring winds, that basically sounded like a low/slow flying jet, and my house was shking a little bit. I live between Haskell and Harper, close to 19th.

true_patriot 10 years, 1 month ago

Blue/green light is consistent with high winds (from tornadoes or otherwise) as the power lines gets yanked around and transformers blowI watched a tornado coming from a distance at night once and you could track its progress as transformers blew and lit up the night sky.

dirkleisure 10 years, 1 month ago

According to the Cap Journal, the sirens sounded in Shawnee County.I believe the representation that the final say is with individual counties is inaccurate. It would appear many counties have an automatic trigger when NWS issues a Tornado Warning.The DG County policy is short sighted in my opinion.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 1 month ago

Just wondering how many of these 8 grand don't want coal fired energy? Kinda funny.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 1 month ago

"If the sirens were sounded everytime we went under a tornado watch, pretty soon its like crying wolf, and nobody is gonna believe it."So true. I grew up in Ottawa during the 60's and every time the barometer dropped suddenly the sirens went off. After awhile people just ignored it. Or went out to see if they could spot something. I think it was all a guessing game back then. Sirens won't wake you up from a dead sleep. A weather radio with a battery backup is the best thing to have.

ohjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

However, in an HP (high precipitation) supercell, the rain can also be behind the tornado., the tornado would be in a relatively small rain-free area.Again, I'm not saying there was a tornado there last night. My guess is there wasn't. However, I still feel that any time a tornado warning is issued by the people charged with making those decisions (the meteorologists at the NWS), the powers that be at the local/county level should defer to their expertise and not try to make their own decisions.

10 years, 1 month ago

so was that another microburst? i've had my fill of those

filterX 10 years, 1 month ago

Blah blah blah, this is about tornados, not about the stupid mercury filled coal plant. :P

mom_of_three 10 years, 1 month ago

We live on the SE side of town, and seems like we actually missed the worst part of the storm this time. Usually doesn't happen that way. Looks like KC got the worse of the storm that passed over us.

Packman 10 years, 1 month ago

fascinating_person: I saw the blue/green light - three times as well. I was wondering what caused that as well. One of my colleagues and I were just discussing this and wondered if the lightning was hitting a substation or something? Anyone know?We didn't lose power, but it sure was odd.

geppetto 10 years, 1 month ago

In East Lawrence we get constant sirens by the trains that go by. It is all night.

Xwards 10 years, 1 month ago

fascinating_person (Anonymous) says:On a different note - the reason I logged on here in the first place - did anyone else see the sky turn neon blue around 1:20am?We live near 6th and Louisiana and I saw it twice. By that time, the power was already out.My neighbor had a big limb that fell just in front of her house...her porch had a little damage. But we came out of it ok.

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

"Also, in response to local control, again I say that would be fine if the local people had the training/authority to issue weather warnings. Since they do not, how can the usurp that authority from those that do?".......Im sorry this is a laughable comment. Do you have any idea how much experience those guys have in this?? Terri Smith alone has been with EOC for more than 15 yrs, and I believe its the same for Bob.The trained spotters who were out last night, are very trained, in fact, have been named the BEST spotters in Kansas.Please see the breaking news on the front page as to why Bob did not sound the sirens. Again, this was not spotter confirmed and by the time it actually got here it had weakened.

Confrontation 10 years, 1 month ago

I think what made it worse last night was the fact that Douglas County was in a Tornado watch that was set to expire at 1am. I think most people would assume that they were out of danger at 1am. I was lucky to have a spouse who was still awake at 12:45ish and mentioned the warnings in Shawnee County. I woke up and watched the storm progress towards Lawrence. I believe we were in the clear at around 1:45am. I'm glad we have a basement.

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

ohjayhawk.....if you trained as a spotter then you know as well as I do that the sirens...I will say it again....are meant to notify people OUTSIDE...not INSIDE!!!!With the wind and the thunder, unless you live right under the siren then you would not have heard it anyway!!!!!!!This is why Im advocating the radios! Those you DO hear no matter what, they are battery backed up in case the electricity goes and the tone that they make is very mistake.I absolutely NEVER said to disregard what the NWS says....I said each county makes the decision to sound the sirens....based on ALL the information they have, not just NWS...while the doplar can indicate POSSIBLE rotation, it is not as good as a trained eye.Also spotters were out until 2:30 a.m this morning.Again, if you are upset or angry about it I would suggest a call to EOC and ask for an accounting of why they were not sounded. If we are not part of the solution then we are part of the problem, so if you dont like the way EOC works, then do something about it. But when there has been no loss of life and no bitch about this is wayyyy over the top!I would never trust my family solely to EOC, NWS, ot any TV or radio station, I want the best most current, ACURATE information I can have regarding these storms, therefore I own a weather radio and various other equipment to forewarn my family.

10 years, 1 month ago

i live by downtown, and my house wasn't shaking like it did for the microburst of 2005.

bejuba 10 years, 1 month ago

To Multidisciplinary (Anonymous) Haha! No, I didn't! :p

cms 10 years, 1 month ago

Is there damage in the Prairie Park area specifically in the area of the school?

ohjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

I understand that the people at the EOC have been doing this for many years, and that the spotters are very well trained. I am not taking anything away from the spotters at all. Those spotters are trained by the fine folks at the NWS. All spotter trainings are done by the NWS. The people at the NWS are the ones best suited to make decisions about issuing warnings. At the time this happened, it was dark. The best spotters in the world can't see a tornado in the dark. When we used to chase, we always stopped when it got dark because it was way too dangerous.

dirkleisure 10 years, 1 month ago

I don't understand why I should buy a weather radio when I pay taxes for the EOC to activate the sirens.The sirens went off in Shawnee County.

ralphralph 10 years, 1 month ago

"dirkleisure (Anonymous) says: ...Tornado Warning issued = sirens. ,,,"Uh, apparently not in Larryville!Bureaucrats = Boneheads = Everywhere

mumbojumbo 10 years, 1 month ago

We also can't rely on Sunflower broadband to broadcast the warnings. every time they tried in the ealy evening it would go off and you would miss most of what was being reported. For what we pay for their service we should be able to rely on them for the warnings in full. What a deal.

jhawkboi 10 years, 1 month ago

It's really annoying that the power on my block is still out after 12 hours but the neighbors right across the street have power and never lost theirs. It'd be nice if Westar would update the transformer on my block to whatever is right across the street!

claireredfield 10 years, 1 month ago

How does only 80 miles an hour bend over stop signs? Go out to northwest Lawrence and take a look. It's amazing. The winds must have been WAY higher.

iloveyoutoo 10 years, 1 month ago

I am sorry but ksdivakat, you just sound ignorant. Just because you believe that the sirens are only meant for people OUTSIDE doesn't mean that people on the INSIDE can't hear them as well. That being said, how does it make it right that people who actually WERE OUTSIDE weren't notified of the warning?"But when there has been no loss of life and no bitch about this is wayyyy over the top!"Haha, THAT is laughable because there very well could have been lives lost or numerous injuries and had they involved any of your family that may have been OUTSIDE at the time, you would be "bi*ching" that sirens weren't sounded."I want the best most current, acurate information I can have regarding these storms, therefore I own a weather radio and various other equipment to forewarn my family."and sirens are also in the same group as the equipment you mention above, therefore, they should be utilized regardless of whether someone has seen a tornado. A warning is a warning.

imagold 10 years, 1 month ago

I'm a bit confused...again. In all my years of school, we'd practice tornado drills when the sirens went off. I don't know how we managed to pull this off since the sirens weren't made to be heard inside a building or home. Poppycock. I believe I started hearing that line about the time these fancy weather radios came out for sale. If we're not supposed to hear tornado sirens inside, then what difference does it make if they go off in the middle of the night or not? A good percentage of us are asleep, inside our cozy homes, at 1:00 a.m. Guess I'll start sleeping outside on nights they are forecasting bad weather...just in case.

Angela Heili 10 years, 1 month ago

I agree moneyhawk. There was a tornado warning. Besides, with winds that strong, people should be warned and have time to take cover. For me it doesn't matter if there is a tornado or not. If you've got microburst or tornadic storms going through, get those sirens going!I've seen the damage this morning. Part of the schools roof in my area was torn off. Winds strong enough to cause that much damage, I believe, warrants the use of sirens.

elou 10 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps I was the only one to hear it, but they DID sound the sirens last night, sometime close to 1:35a --too late and not for very long. We saw the tornado warning online and headed for shelter (not the best idea, I know). Just as we arrived, the sirens sounded. By then, the storm had died down some. I don't feel that we can rely on these sirens. I agree that a NWS tornado warning should trigger those sirens to go off immediately.

mistygreen 10 years, 1 month ago

I agree with ksdivacat, the current warning system is for out doors. Initially, I think this whole warning system was developed back in the 50s/60s as the result of the cold war and the possibility of nuclear attack, and was further developed into a system to warn of tornados. Back in the day...LOL we were not as noisy, and mp3s, headphones were non-existent. But I have to admit, when the storms are rolling in, you cannot hear the sirens, so yes it is best to have a weather alert radio, as my weather bug system even failed me last night. I also agree with dirkleisure, when the NWS issues a warning, they mean business, and we should not have to depend on Douglas county emergency management. I never understood their policy and basically will use my own judgment when it comes to severe weather. This is ultimately what everyone one needs to do. They need to be informed and stay abreast of the severe weather and make good choices. We cannot trust the powers that be to make that decision to push the button and blow the sirens. Finally, just a thought on Shawnee County. I grew up in Topeka, and survived the F5 that hit in the 60s. That was enough for anyone, and I'm sure those officials still remember and do not want to take chances. They would rather have some irritated for blasting the sirens, then to suffer the consequences of not using the sirens.

alfie 10 years, 1 month ago

They figured the winds woke you up, once awake how hard is it for an individual to go to the basement just for the heck of it. or you could have called your parents and ask them what to do? people grow up and take some responsibility

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

Actually the blue/green light is in fact the back-end of a hail shaft, its when the hail is still in the atmosphere and it comes down it actually bends the light and gives off this bluish/green light, typically this means you are on the back end of it.Again, NWS can issue any kind of warning they want, but it is up to the individual counties to sound the sirens. If your really that angry about it, I suggest you call EOC yourself, ask for Terri Smith, she is the director of EOC and ask for an accounting. I assume that will not happen as I am convinced this is not an issue but more of a want to fuss about something, anything.Storm prediction is hard enough, let alone in this area of the country, we all know the joke about the weather in Kansas.....and keep in mind the last tornado was in 2003...not last night.

supercowbellninja 10 years, 1 month ago

why so much second-guessing??? We are all fine.And really, if you need a siren to tell you to go downstairs after all the buildup before the worst of the storm, maybe you haven't lived in Kansas long enough.

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

moneyhawk,......yes douglas co was under the tornado warning but 2 things, 1-it was just doppler radar indicated and not spotted, and secondly it was more to the north of lawrence, as in the lecompton area, now the sirens there should have went off, but one thing to rememebr about the sirens:They were not designed to "alert" people who are inside, they are designed to alert people who are Outside.This time of year in Kansas, everyone should have a weather radio with battery backup. 20-40$ at radio shack.

dirkleisure 10 years, 1 month ago

Sirens don't sound when the barometer drops. Sirens don't sound because somebody thinks he or she saw a tornado. Sirens don't sound because it looks awfully windy. Sirens don't sound even if you watch the sky and use your head.National Weather Service issues a Tornado Warning. Sirens sound.All other comments are immaterial. Last night, the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning. The sirens did not sound.Serious failure in emergency management. The issue here is that a Tornado Warning was issued and the sirens did not sound.What happens the next time a Tornado Warning is issued and a tornado hits Lawrence, but the sirens did not sound?Pretty simple equation, being muddied up by a load of anecdotal nonsense.

ohjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Bubarubu - Well, that explains things then. However, as I mentioned before, if a warning was issued by the NWS several minutes before a touchdown, and the sirens have not gone off, I don't know how they feel that they couldn't be in line for a lawsuit. Last I checked, the NWS is the only governmental agency that has the authority to issue weather watches and warnings. Basically, Douglas County is now conferring that status upon themselves as well. I understand very well the need to not overuse the sirens. However, if the NWS is saying conditions are right for a tornado to form, how can they have any better information than the meteorologists.The whole point of doppler radar and issuing warnings based upon its information is to get warnings out BEFORE the tornado touches down in order to get people to safety. Granted, not all doppler indicated tornados are actually tornados, but whether it touches down or not is undeterminable. But, when it does touch down, I would much rather have people in safe places before that happens.

elou 10 years, 1 month ago

Well, justthefacts, perhaps others couldn't hear the sirens. We were outside, and maybe it was just in our area, but they did sound near us --only much too late. I remember it well, because at first I felt happy that we had made it to shelter in time. Later, I realized that we were in the most danger back at our house and that they had sounded them too late (again --it was the same during the "microburst.") I just don't understand why they can't simply sound the sirens according to the NWS warnings. Seems much better to me. People need more warning! I agree with justthefacts --better safe than sorry!

BigPrune 10 years, 1 month ago

When the tornado hit Lawrence in the eary '80's, it skipped around from Kasold & Clinton Pkwy to 31st & Iowa, killing a guy at K-Mart. The sirens didn't go off until the tornado left the area.

TheYetiSpeaks 10 years, 1 month ago

I have never seen straightline winds last that long...that was intense.

twaldaisy 10 years, 1 month ago

Also I was at work at Shawnee Mission Med Center last night when the the first bad storms hit around 8:00ish. There were warnings issued and no confirmed sitings of an actual tornado and the sirens went off 3 times.

mom_of_three 10 years, 1 month ago

The dog woke me up barking at the thunder last night, and the hubby had the radio on. The radio was talking about a warning, and I wondered if we should take the kids downstairs before it got worse (as teenagers can be hard to wake up. I don't know if "tornado" would have made it easier). But he said don't worry until the sirens go off. I got dressed and turned on the tv. Channel 6 was a little more calming than the radio. Had a hard time going back to sleep.If we were in nw lawrence, we would have been downstairs for sure.

twaldaisy 10 years, 1 month ago

I was leaving north Lawrence when the rain and wind hit. I went about 3 blocks and went back to my friend's house. The rain was coming down horizontally and in sheets. When I saw the tree limbs flying horizontally is when I turned around. The KLWN said we were in a warning. The DJ's kept saying take cover, take cover in a calm voice of course. I thought what about the people that are asleep with no sirens how would they know to take cover. I was really surprised that being in a WARNING that no sirens were sounded and also because of the time of night.

asbarkincat 10 years, 1 month ago

I live in north Lawrence and lost power for a few hours. It came back up at some point over night, and went back of again. Parks and Rec will have fun cleaning up the down trees limbs at the park, I was lucky and just had small limbs come down.

fascinating_person 10 years, 1 month ago

Thanks to everyone offering explanations of the neon blue light - I've never seen anything else like it in my entire life. freaky.

Danielle Brunin 10 years, 1 month ago

p> has the radar image from 1:13 am last night and it distinctly shows Lawrence in a tornado warning. I cannot believe that they did not sound the sirens with a doppler-indicated tornado. Just because they didn't have a confirmed report of a tornado on the ground does not mean that there is no tornado. (It's kind of like assuming that because you can't see the tumor, you don't have cancer.) Tornadoes are notoriously difficult to see at night. Furthermore, if the funnel gets rain wrapped, they are nearly impossible to see, even in the daytime by the most experienced storm spotters. Somebody at EOC got caught with their pants down. It was very irresponsible on their part and I will be very curious to know what their explanation is. What is more disturbing to me is how many people didn't know that this was a tornado warning and just assumed it was a nasty storm. I know storm fatigue is a real problem, but we're in Kansas for heaven's sake!

justthefacts 10 years, 1 month ago

Simple rule could save lives = NWS issues a tornado WARNING means sirens go on immediately. There are not that many WARNINGS issued during a tornado season. For people who have no other means of finding out if a warning is issued (except their own eyes and senses) it could save lives. Else why have sirens in the first place? If we aren't going to use them with a WARNING has been issued, why pay for them in the first place?

Confrontation 10 years, 1 month ago

I love how people say, "Back in the day, we didn't have sirens, and we survived!" Well, we do have sirens now. Why not use them?

ohjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Furthermore, you are the one who is advocating getting weather radios. The weather radios are activated by the NWS. So, people who had weather radios would have been notified by the NWS that there was a tornado warning, and thus urging them to take cover. Yet, on the other hand, you are advocating that people disregard the NWS because the people at the EOC have just as much experience/training to make decisions on their own. So, if the NWS issues a tornado warning, but the EOC doesn't see fit to sound the sirens, then that's their decision.

mistygreen 10 years, 1 month ago

ksdivakat:I have to disagree with you about the why Bob did not sound the sirens. This is really unacceptable and bad judgment. Not necessarily for Bob, as I realize the guy was just doing his job. As we now know, this storm was very dangerous. Maybe tornadic, maybe not, but the warning systems are put in place for that reason. To WARN people of danger. The NWS obviously saw the risk and issued the warning. I think it is a dangerous to risk lives because there is no "official" confirmation. Some people will disagree, but when a warning is issued, is it your choice as to seek shelter, but you cannot say you were not warned. It was night, it was dark. I'm not sure even some of the best spotters could see something.

merg311 10 years, 1 month ago

So what part of town is out of power? I'm at work right now in North Lawrence, we have a backup generator here so everything is fine.

Rastaman 10 years, 1 month ago

I'm pretty sure it was a tornado. It sounded like a 747 went through my living room. My fence is shredded into a 1000 little toothpicks.

justthefacts 10 years, 1 month ago

I live in NW Lawrence area. No sirens sounded. Ever. And we had someone in the house who was listening for them! A tornado warning was issued by the weather experts. And if it weren't for the fact that my spouse is a light sleeper who is a weather watcher, we would not have known to take cover in the basement when the warning was issued. What about those who slept through the storm? What about those who do not have radios or TV's be/c they cannot afford them? Good for them this time - no one was hurt. Thank God. But what about the next time there's a tornado warning - and no sirens. Fat lot of good a warning system does if it is not used. Why bother to test it if you aren't going to use it during a real tornado warning situation? Will people die because the warning system set up to warn people to take cover did not work or was not triggered? What are the authorities going to do when someone dies b/c the warning system was not even turned on after the weather authorities put out a tornado warning (not watch - warning!)? Better safe then sorry!

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

twaldaisy....your sirens sounded because in your area was spotter confirmed rotation. Nothing ever touched down, but trained spotters confirmed seeing the rotation in the sky.Also, the big tale tale that there was no rotation here in our immediate area was the torrential rain. It is impossible for a tornado to form when rain is present. Rain is a downdraft event and a tornado is an updraft event, now a tornado can be "rainwrapped" which means that it is completely encased in rain all around it, but it is impossible for it to be raining AND have a tornado at the same time. All of these ingredients were taken into consideration last night regarding sounding the sirens.Again I would suggest if anyone is upset or angry about it ,that you contact EOC and ask for an accounting of why the sirens did not sound.

twaldaisy 10 years, 1 month ago

I agree ohjayhawk, I was going to make the same point. Also, if a county is not going to sound sirens on a warning, when would they sound the sirens. I can understand if it was called a watch and not a warning. There is a huge difference in the 2 and I think most Kansans know the difference. Also Ksdivat, thanks for letting me know that spotters did see rotation, but again this was between 7 and 8 p.m. before darkness hit and you could still see. It was 1 a.m. in Lawrence, cross winds of 80 m.p.h. and it was a warning out not a watch. Plus the radio announcers were saying it is a warning, not a watch, take cover now. People asleep without weather radios would have no idea to take cover. The warning was put out and everyone should be warned not just those of us that are night owls and experienced the storm first hand. That wind was scary and seeing tree limbs fly horizontally in front of you is quite a sight!! I do understand about over using sirens and maybe the wind would have blocked out the sound of sirens, but we will never know. And yes, we all survived, but what about next time, we may not all be so lucky.

filterX 10 years, 1 month ago

Looks like mostly from 13th-15th north from Kentucky to Kasold.

bejuba 10 years, 1 month ago

I live in Pittsburg, and we're still waiting for the storm to get here! I use to live in Lawrence though, and the area I lived in is what sounds like it's without power right now! WOW!

elg1971 10 years, 1 month ago

did anyone else get hail damage on their vehicle?

TopJayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Bejuba, I think that must be a differant storm. This storm, I think is/was tracking to the northeast. But stay safe. :-)

elou 10 years, 1 month ago

I agree that it is a short-sighted policy. I also want to say again that they DID, really did, sound the sirens! It was just much too late. That is NOT good enough, imho. I can't count on them anymore. I have to worry what to do with my baby in the middle of the night. We have no basement, so we need more notice if possible. I guess I'll power up that weather radio and try to stay up on stormy nights. Thanks, Douglas County.

ksdivakat 10 years, 1 month ago

iloveyoutoo ....I would suggest you research your information a bit before you post things you know nothing of.The siren system was designed in the "war" days to alert to incoming bombs...remember when they used to practice that in school? Once the cold war was over the systems were kept in place to warn of severe weather...They are designed to warn people OUTSIDE...not INSIDE....5-10 years ago the difference is radars....there was no such thing as dopler radar thats why you practiced tornado drills in school. Now technology has brought us to a point where we can pinpoint with precise acuracy where the storm is and its almost real time radar...which wasnt the case 5 years ago. By the way, I have been spotting and chasing for almost 15 years, I am not only trained but also educated as well, please do not insult my intelligence with some penny-annie sideways remark that is completely off base and holds no validity, the only opinion I expressed is the opinion of obtaining a weather radio....the rest of the information is fact and can be checked out by any 5th grader who can use google.

iloveyoutoo 10 years, 1 month ago

With all due respect miss divakat, you are also blowing smoke on a blog by biching at the bichers. Just sayin'. Anyway, I do agree that it is best to take our concerns to the EOC and I do have faith that the policy will be changed. Slowly, but surely, but definitely everything else.

true_patriot 10 years, 1 month ago

On the blue/green light, yes that is true about hail - in fact you can tell all sorts of things from the color of the light, but since it was in the middle of the night I am not so sure it was just the hail effect and not transformers. Transformers really do light up the sky when they go at night, and it's usually blue or green light, and with all the power lines down, I'm sure there must have been transformers blowing.On the sirens, they definitely did NOT blow near us, as we live right next to one and can see it from our front window. At that distance that sucker is LOUD. Yet a funnel was reported by a weather spotter within three miles of that siren about 10 minutes after the tornado warning came aross the weather radio for Douglas County. They probably should have sounded them.Interestingly, the sirens also did not sound in Gladstone, and while so far the only casualties seem to be injuries from flying debris (one lady had to have emergency surgery with over 50 stitches but should turn out okay), residents there are wondering why the sirens weren't sounded when the damage done to their homes and businesses was the same extent as an F1 tornado, even if it was caused by straightline winds.The officer I saw interviewed on KCTV5 said it was because they hadn't "confirmed rotation with a spotter". We can see how well that logic worked to protect those people - when the damage that is done is as severe as that of a tornado, who gives a flying flip whether a spotter was able to go find a tornado in the middle of the night or not? Doppler radar clearly showed they were capable of producing tornades and there was a history of funnels and at least one tornado being produced with this squall line.

Piggles 10 years, 1 month ago

Fascinating blogs about the storm! My dogs woke me up when they barked at the thunder I presume. I saw lightning and turned on the tv and saw on the weather channel that Do. Co. in tornado warning. I flipped through the channels and stopped on channel 8 (27) and actually I watched it until storm was over. I read with interest about those of you who watched channel 6. When I turned to channel 6, they were talking about the storm and the strong winds, but for some reason on my tv , there was loud music that was playing! I ended up switching back to channel 8 where I got information as to what was going on since I couldn't hear channel 6 because of the music. I heard the wind roaring. I talked to my mom after I got off work today and she lives near 6th and Kasold and she said in her 60+ years on this beautiful planet of ours she has never, ever heard wind like that. She lost power and both her weather radio and clock didn't work even though battery backup. So she is going to buy new batteries. Oh yeah. . . we keep an old landline corded phone for emergencies(we have cordless phones) -- if power goes out, cordless phones won't work. We also have cell phone for emergencies. I also read with interest about the colorof the clouds some of you saw last night-- my late grandma once told me when we saw a beautiful blue/green color cloud as a storm was approaching that it was a sign of hail.

LeonTrotsky 10 years, 1 month ago

I like how even a story about weather can turn posters against one another. I like to blame all bad weather on the weather gun that the US Navy operates in Alaska. Remember when Nelson Mandela was attacked by a US made tornado back in 1999? Who ever heard of a tornado in South Africa. Or the extra long cold winter we all had to counter Al Gore's invention: Global Warming. All part of an evil, overarching, right/left wing agenda. To what end? Who knows!

ohjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

ksdivakat - I guess my thing is, if there is a tornado warning in effect, shouldn't every means available to notify the public, be used? There isn't much more of an emergent situation than a tornado warning. Everything at the disposal of those in charge should be used to make sure there is no doubt that people are made aware of the situation.

Piggles 10 years, 1 month ago

Hayman- I heard at one point that winds were clocked at least 70 mph (?) at Lawrence Municipal Airport.

hayman 10 years, 1 month ago

I live just north of the Lawrence Airport and it was brutal out here. During the storm I watched a 45 foot evergreen tree snap about 15 feet off the ground (tree has been here for 50+ years) and realized that this was a big storm. We have trees that have been her for 40-50 years that had 1 foot diameters that were uprooted , like saplings. In all six trees were uprooted (all huge trees), about ten trees lost 40% or more of their branches, many shingles were lost off of our house, a fuel tank blew off of a stand and was found about 100 feet away, and probably worst of all a huge barn was partically destroyed. Just a guess, but easily $30,000 dollars of damage. A friend just to the west of us had a roof come off and crush two cars. If this wasn't a tornado then it was sure one hell of a microburst.

true_patriot 10 years, 1 month ago

The point is not that you shouldn't have a weather radio and pay attention to the weather this time of year, it's whether or not we should have a sensible policy on siren usage. It's not an either/or choice - you can have weather radios, personal responsibility, etc. AND have sirens as well.

hayman 10 years, 1 month ago

Piggles--- We live two miles north of the Lawrence Airport, and we had wind readings at our house of 79mph.

TornadoLive_Dot_Com 10 years, 1 month ago

We were storm chasing much of the evening in southeast Kansas, and headed home (to Lawrence) after intercepting many rotating wall clouds on several tornado-warned supercells during the evening/night. A bow echo began to develop in Central Kansas (which was forced by a cold front) and was much different than the supercells earlier in the day. Although, uncommon, brief tornadoes can occur on bow echos, near the "comma." (Dr. Greg Forbes explains: The north side of this "bow", showed rotation last night and passed 8 miles west of Lawrence or so. There were trained weather spotters on the dam (an off-duty NWS meteorologist among them), and at mile marker 201 on I-70 (The bow caught us in Ottawa with intense outflow winds and nickel-sized hail, we weren't in Lawrence, but observing Level 2 radar from Ottawa). I'm sure even though that Lawrence was initially in the NWS' polygon for the warning, emergency management made the right decision for not sounding the sirens.I wish I could get a shot of the bow echo as it moved through Lawrence from last night, but the Level 2 data isn't available for another day or so , so here is the Level 3 data a friend captured as it moved through Kansas City: green icons are spotters and storm chasers, the "SN" are reports from the spotters/chasers. This is a new, highly-accurate software client that we use now to give precise locations of what we are seeing and are now able to forward that information to the NWS immediately to aid in the warning process. None of those out last night were reporting anything other than high winds and small hail. If you are interested in weather and ground truth along with radar, I suggest you purchase GRlevel3 software ( or you can monitor spotters in Douglas county via spotternetwork (, then click on national activity). Also, storm chasers this year are streaming live video, which aids in the warning process for the National Weather Service offices, along with this new software relayed via internet connection. I also suggest to attend spotter talks performed by the National Weather Service each spring to better understand the weather.Weather radios save lives, they're cheap and should be in every home just like smoke detectors. Having a "plan" for yourself and those close to you can only further prepare you for severe weather. Even spotters can find themselves in trouble when out, like Tim Buckman of the Macksville, KS police department who was killed last May. Fear can make you become disoriented, and it may have caused Mr. Buckman to drive into a 2 mile wide tornado last year. So please, don't head out and try to "see" the tornado!!Stay safe and take severe weather seriously!

littlegrace 10 years, 1 month ago

Just in case anyone needs help cleaning up there's a dude over on Lawrence Freecycle offering to cut limbs with his chain saw and haul them."If anyone has any large tree branches or trees that fell in last night's storm,I can come by with my chain saw and cut up the large pieces and get rid of themfor you.... in my fireplace in November. Fri May 2, 2008 7:56 pmtimothy dennehy timothybryandennehy@... timothybryan...

true_patriot 10 years, 1 month ago

Fox 4 News in KC is now saying that the NWS has determined that a minimum of two tornadoes were produced by this morning's storms in the North Kansas City and Gladstone areas. Cable 6 News reported that Douglas County did NOT sound its sirens last night, so maybe people that heard them were just hearing the howling hurricane force winds?

dalann 10 years, 1 month ago

Hey we live in Kansas! The last two times I ran to the basement before the sirens sounded I was right. The first one was the microburst the second was last night. If it doesn't feel right go for shelter. NEVER count on the sirens.

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