Storms Produce Damage In Southern Kansas

Friday, May 8th 2009, 6:30 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

CHERRYVALE, KS -- The early morning severe weather in Kansas had winds powerful enough to cause significant damage.

Straight winds and a microburst are responsible for the structure damage suffered in Cherryvale and Thayer on Friday morning.

Downed tree limbs litter one street in Cherryvale where fierce winds blew in just after dawn.

"I've never seen anything like it in 10 years of law enforcement," Cherryvale Police Assistant Chief Perry Lambert said.

Wind gusts up to 100 miles per hour had the power to derail a train.  

"These 2 locomotives here were on the other side of the street, and the winds pushed them about 500 feet to the west striking this locomotive here and sending it over the derail," Lambert said.

"It happened so quick," Cherryvale resident Randy Boss said. "It probably didn't last 5-6 seconds, and it was over with.

"We could hear a bunch of noise, but we didn't know what the damage was until we come out."

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Boss and his wife took cover in their storm shelter and were trapped inside when a tree fell over their carport onto the cellar's door. They had to call their son, who came with a chainsaw to cut away the limbs to free them.

Their home was untouched, but the rest of their property was destroyed by the storm. A brick masonry building blown in, a pole barn virtually relocated and their vehicles smashed.

"It makes you sick, but it could have been much worse," Boss said.

The damage was worse in Thayer, Kan. The roof was completely blown off of the Mama C's grocery store.

"We were asleep," Thayer resident Kim Carrico said. "We lost the roof. It's leaking a little bit, but we've got good help here in town."

Just up the road, the damage was the most significant. An entire neighborhood littered with debris. Uprooted trees and collapsed garages as volunteers shake off the early morning surprise and spend their afternoon cleaning up the debris.

There were no injuries in Cherryvale or Thayer, but in New Albany a woman was killed when her mobile home was blown off of its foundation.

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Those same storms also blew into southwest Missouri on Friday, uprooting trees and damaging the roofs on several houses.

It also knocked out power to thousands of people, and there were reports of winds more than 80 mph. It even knocked a Joplin television station off the air.

Straight line winds blew the broadcast tower for the NBC station to the ground.

The tower company warned employees that the antenna was buckling, so everyone evacuated before the tower fell. It destroyed a vehicle and damaged several homes.