Archive for Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lawrence residents at work in Kansas City area take shelter from Wednesday’s storms

This photo, taken by Mike Illig, shows a funnel cloud forming over Leawood near I-435 and Mission Road Wednesday, May 25, 2011.

This photo, taken by Mike Illig, shows a funnel cloud forming over Leawood near I-435 and Mission Road Wednesday, May 25, 2011.

May 25, 2011


Lawrence residents took cover at their jobs Wednesday morning in the Kansas City area as tornado warnings were issued there but no major damage was reported to the metropolitan area.

However, about 20 people were reported injured due to heavy tornado damage to the east in Sedalia, Mo.

Clay Britton, an attorney at the Kansas City, Mo., firm Lathrop and Gage who works on the 23rd floor of a building in the Crown Center district, took shelter in a parking garage around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday as tornado sirens sounded. An intercom announcement had encouraged employees to enter stairwells or head to the garage.

He said the tornado warnings put people on edge because of the outbreak of deadly and damaging tornadoes in recent days, including an EF-5 tornado that killed more than 120 people Sunday evening in Joplin, Mo.

“I think there’s a heightened sense of making sure you take every precaution after what happened in Joplin,” said Britton, a 28-year-old Lawrence resident who has two Kansas University degrees.

Britton spent time in the parking garage checking in with his father and brother who work in the Country Club Plaza area to make sure they were taking shelter. He said fellow employees were constantly texting and calling family members as well.

Lawrence resident Amanda Davis, who works on the second floor of a Waddell and Reed firm building in Overland Park near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Lamar Avenue, said the skies outside didn’t appear to be that ominous when the sirens sounded.

But she and her co-workers took shelter anyway in a stairwell because most of them were thinking about the Joplin tornado.

“Everybody was thinking about it,” she said. “The whole company was on top of everything. It’s right there in your mind. You’re thinking this could happen anywhere. It’s not just Joplin.”

Andrew Hess, a Lawrence resident and KU computer engineering student, was working on the second floor of the Garmin International warehouse in Olathe when he heard the tornado warning announcement over his handheld radio and then heard the sirens from outside.

Quickly, he pulled out his iPhone to check the weather.

“I read that a cell was moving toward Belton, Mo., where my mother lives, so I gave her a call and told her to take shelter immediately,” Hess wrote in an email.

As he took shelter in a safe location in the warehouse, he was also relaying live tweets about the storm to his co-workers. Hess said people seemed to be calm, and there was no damage to the warehouse. They were allowed to return to work around noon.

Oh, and his mother — she made it to the basement and was OK, too.


CreatureComforts 6 years, 12 months ago

Was it just the Lawrence residents that took cover? Did the local KC residents think of us as wimps? ;)

appleaday 6 years, 12 months ago

I spent well over an hour in the basement at the Kauffman convention center with people from all over. We all watched the radar on our cell phones. I was able to get live updates from LJWorld which seemed to have the most up-to-the-minute tornado spottings of all.

Kontum1972 6 years, 12 months ago

Dorothy's apron flew up over her head....dig those slippers...Auntie Em...Toto too..!

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 12 months ago

This Clay Britton fellow sounds like a girly man.

Cimmy Redmond 6 years, 12 months ago

My husband's a Federal attorney in downtown KCK and they had to take shelter in the parking garage of the Federal courthouse. I assure you, he's no wimp.

ritoqueen 6 years, 12 months ago

I work at 135th and Metcalf, where 2 tornados were spotted. From my building we couldn't really see well outside and couldn't hear the sirens. We didn't know anything had happened until after the fact.

northtowngrl 6 years, 12 months ago

Not a good to host a school visit. I will tell you that much! I spent 90 minutes with 42 fith graders on a school visit trying to keep them all distracted and entertained with stories and over 200 patrons at the downtown branch of the KC Public Library. I must say, the kids were much MUCH better behaved than any of our adult patrons.

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