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Archive for Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tornado did strike southern Douglas County, National Weather Service says; several buildings damaged

Joyce Barkley sits Thursday near what’s left of her barn and outbuildings on Woodson Road in southern Douglas County. Tuesday night’s EF-0 tornado, with 65 mph to 85 mph winds, damaged or destroyed many structures in the area.

Joyce Barkley sits Thursday near what’s left of her barn and outbuildings on Woodson Road in southern Douglas County. Tuesday night’s EF-0 tornado, with 65 mph to 85 mph winds, damaged or destroyed many structures in the area.

March 1, 2012

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Tornado Damage

Residents of Douglas County clean up after Tuesday's minor tornado that caused damage to at least five homes. Enlarge video

A small tornado that touched down in southern Douglas County Tuesday night threw a 2x4 through a car battery.

A small tornado that touched down in southern Douglas County Tuesday night threw a 2x4 through a car battery.

Some residents of southern Douglas County suffered severe damage, such as this destroyed barn, from a tornado that hit the area Tuesday night.

Some residents of southern Douglas County suffered severe damage, such as this destroyed barn, from a tornado that hit the area Tuesday night.

The National Weather Service has determined an EF-0 tornado struck parts of southern Douglas County and damaged buildings south of Globe and Worden.

Meteorologist Matt Wolters said Douglas County emergency management officials completed a damage report Wednesday as property owners were able to inspect things in the daylight.

Damage was reported three miles southeast of Globe, and the National Weather Service determined the path of the tornado was from four miles south of Globe in northern Franklin County to 1.5 miles south of Worden in Douglas County. The tornado lasted from 10:06 p.m. Tuesday to 10:11 p.m.

“Several barns were damaged or destroyed with large trees uprooted, based on a description of the damage,” he said.

Joyce Barkley, who lives in the area went to bed about 10 p.m. Tuesday and heard the wind pick up outside.

“I got up to go to the basement, and by the time I hit the stairway, the storm, it was done. The noise was gone,” she said.

Barkley returned to bed.

“I got up the next morning and looked outside and everything was gone,” she said.

The storm had done severe damage to her barn, but she was glad no one was hurt and that her house and neighbors’ homes were spared.

Wolters said an EF-0 tornado is the weakest category of a tornado with winds between 65 mph and 85 mph.

Darlene Schwarz, who drives a school bus for the Baldwin City school district, noticed damage on her route Wednesday that included a tree on the road in one area and damage to barns, other buildings, a roof on a home and a breezeway and garage on a new home under construction.

“You could tell a tornado or something went through there,” Schwarz said.

Douglas County Emergency Management Director Teri Smith said most of the damage was tipped-over farm machinery and blown-off shingles. She said a mobile home in the area was destroyed, but officials have not confirmed if anyone was living in the home because no one was home when they checked on it.

Smith said the February storm was a good reminder about being prepared for severe weather — always.

“Take the time now to have a plan, make a kit, and be informed and know what to do before, during and after,” Smith said.

Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday declared a disaster emergency in 19 counties, including Douglas, hit this week by the violent weather, including the storm that spawned a deadly tornado in the eastern Kansas town of Harveyville.

The governor’s disaster declaration brings the state into the response to the storms.

Brownback had already declared of a state of emergency Tuesday night in Wabaunsee County after the tornado hit Harveyville. But other areas also had damaging winds, hail and tornadoes.

In addition to Wabaunsee and Douglas counties, the new declaration covers: Butler, Chautauqua, Coffey, Cowley, Crawford, Franklin, Harper, Kingman, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Montgomery, McPherson, Reno, Republic, Sumner and Wilson counties.

The storm that rolled through the area was part of the same system that produced a tornado that damaged Harveyville, Wolters said. Kansas officials said Thursday that one man had died from injuries he suffered in Harveyville.

The Kansas Adjutant General’s Office said in a statement Thursday morning: “Richard D. Slade, 53, was airlifted to Stormont-Vail Emergency and Trauma Center in Topeka Tuesday night after being pulled from the wreckage of his home. He remained in critical condition and the decision was made Wednesday afternoon to take him off life support. Slade passed away Wednesday evening.”

Senior photographer Richard Gwin and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Comments

Randall Barnes 2 years, 6 months ago

if the tornado had stayed on the ground then eudora would have taken a direct hit just like brason. so thank you for sounding the sirens.

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Mike Ford 2 years, 6 months ago

That storm was travelling at 80 mph. We live in west Baldwin and it scared the bejesus out of us. No one had any time to get anywhere. We have no basement so we went to the laundry room. It would've crossed US 59 near the house with the wind turbine and gone on to either north or south of Vinland and near Eudora. Pay attention to the southwest to northeast travel route of most tornadic storms. We will next time.

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 6 months ago

Look at the tornado radar tracks in the Jeff Masters blog titled "eleven deaths in tornado outbreak":

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html

Figure 2 shows the tracks that crossed Douglas County. If that storm's tornado stayed on the ground and got larger, folks would have had almost no notice. Tuschkahouma is right--at 80 miles an hour, it was here and gone so quick that by the time sirens started up I could see the moon and the clouds had moved east. You wouldn't believe how fast we all got into the basement on that one.

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Charles L Bloss Jr 2 years, 6 months ago

Why was the National Weather Service & County Emergency Management asleep at the switch, as these storms killed people? We had no warning at all. Expensive weather radios did not go off, no sirens were sounded. The blood of the dead victims is on their hands for not doing their jobs properly. It could have just as well been the blood of me and my family. Write your Senators and County Commission, and demand an explanation.

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AnglNSpurs 2 years, 6 months ago

My weather radios both in my home and on my cell phone were going off all night. Also there were plent of warnings on TV on the local stations and the weather channel. DGCOEM Director Teri Smith, was on TV w/ channel 6 as this storm blew through DGCO. Where were you?

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jlzack 2 years, 6 months ago

I agree with AngINSpurs, we were under tornado watch all evening & if you were listening to the tv Lynn731 you would have heard about the tornado warnings.

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 6 months ago

To add to what Anginspurs and jlzack have said, the national weather service had put a tornado warning on the storm out in Morris County, and the storm had weakened considerably as it moved east, with no signs of tornadic activity. Harveyville folks said that it was preceded by rain, which means this tornado had become rain-wrapped when it formed immediately to the SW of Harveyville, which means that, when combined with the darkness, there was not visual sighting, and no radar signature for it to be identified as a tornado. Finally, the NWS had posted a tornado watch and had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Wabaunsee County, which by definition can spawn a tornado at a moment's notice.

Bottom line: the NWS did their job properly and no blood is on their hands.

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james bush 2 years, 6 months ago

What a bunch of whiners and what-ifers.

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George_Braziller 2 years, 6 months ago

How is a determination made that it was a tornado and not just a micro-burst or straight-line winds? It was at night so no one could actually see it. Is it by the type of damage? I'm just curious.

I had $20,000 worth of damage to my house after the Lawrence "micro-burst" and the map of the damage in town showed the typical southwest to northeast path of a tornado, yet the county emergency management officials insisted that it wasn't a tornado.

Wolters said an EF-0 tornado is the weakest category of a tornado with winds between 65 mph and 85 mph.

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midwestmom 2 years, 6 months ago

Our house was also damaged in the 'micro burst'. Do you remember the kids who filmed the tornado from SW Lawrence? I'm not sure how it was still called a micro burst with actual film. I also thought it was a tornado, considering the damage/path. We lived in southern central Lawrence and I remember that there was damage in a line that went across town, damaging the Plymouth church and other buildings heading toward downtown.

The sirens went off in Eudora, but I think it was at about the same time the storm went past us. They never sounded the 'all clear', though. The incredible speed of this storm made it incredibly dangerous. I'm glad it missed us - my heart goes out to those who suffered damage. It could have been so much, worse as was the case in Harveyville.

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm convinced that a "gustnado" was embedded in the microburst that hit Lawrence a few Marches back. Gustnados form in an especially vigorous downburst (same as a microburst) when along the edge of the downburst the winds push a column of air out and up into a strong whirlwind that can be much more violent than the straight line winds of the microburst. For more information, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustnado

I watched the plumes of dust from south of town as the microburst moved through and they looked identical to the ones posted on the wikipedia article.

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George_Braziller 2 years, 6 months ago

In the "micro-burst" the entire top of a tree twisted off and crashed through the roof of my house. There were giant sheets of bark that just sort of exploded off of the trunk. My tree guy who cleared the mess was a certified arborist with about 20 years experience. When he got to my house it only took him about 15 seconds to determine that it was tornado damage.

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