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Archive for Thursday, June 18, 2009

Midwest storms spawn tornadoes

June 18, 2009

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— Storms that spread across the central U.S. brought heavy rains, wind and at least two tornadoes, renewing flooding concerns in already soggy areas and leaving thousands of people without power.

No serious injuries were reported from the two storm systems that hit the central part of the U.S. on Monday and early Tuesday.

A storm system that cut a wide swath across Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri knocked out power, damaged buildings and led to flash flooding. The NWS said that two tornadoes that touched down in central and western Nebraska caused little damage.

In southwest Kansas, high winds picked up a tractor-trailer rig and tossed it from the highway. The driver was not injured. The National Weather Service said it was hard to tell whether tornadoes or straight-line winds were to blame for some damage in that state, where winds reached up to 80 or 90 mph. About 22,000 residents were without power.

In the small Missouri town of Norborne, about an hour’s drive northeast of Kansas City, straight-line winds from a thunderstorm reached more than 74 mph, knocking down the walls of one buildings and damaging roofs and trees.

In Drexel, about 60 miles south of Kansas City, Fire Chief William Harper said the main concern Tuesday was restoring power to the Cass County town that saw high winds and heavy rain.

In a separate storm system in Minnesota, an apparent tornado struck the town of Austin, uprooting trees, knocking down power lines and at least one person was reported with minor injuries. The National Weather Service said the storm sent debris flying, flipped cars on their sides and sent trees through roofs.

Power was out in much of the city, including at KAAL-TV, which broadcast from a dark newsroom while anchors were handed papers to read.

Cloud rotations were spotted in several other areas and some brief tornado touchdowns were reported, but not immediately confirmed.

Heavy rain brought flooding concerns to areas of central North Dakota hit by flooding earlier this spring. Burleigh County Emergency Manager Mary Senger said the damage means some repairs made after flooding in March and April would have to be done again. Rainfall totals in Burleigh and Morton counties reached up to 5 inches to 7 inches.

South Dakota saw heavy rain, strong wind and hail, with two reports of funnel clouds in Stanley County.

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