Hurricane-force winds whipped through the Kansas City area in the wee hours Friday morning, leaving damaged buildings, downed power lines and debris strewn across yards and roadways.


 

Hurricane-force winds whipped through the Kansas City area in the wee hours Friday morning, leaving damaged buildings, downed power lines and debris strewn across yards and roadways.

A restaurant was in shambles, power lines were down on the Noland Road Bridge, and several other locations reported serious damage.

The National Weather Service says winds reached 80 mph in Kansas City's Northland and Independence; 60-mph winds were common.

Centerpoint and St. Mary's hospitals reported no area injuries due to the storm, but Independence City Manager Robert Heacock said the storm caused at least 10,000 homes to lose power. More than 5,000 homes had power restored this morning, Heacock said, adding five power circuits in the city were knocked out. All but one of the circuits are back up and running, Heacock said.

Arby's restaurant, at Gudgell and South Missouri 291, was in shambles this morning as employees, police and passers-by gathered around the site of destruction.

Mark Dulaney of Independence stood sipping his coffee in front of Truck, Trailer and Hitch Center, north of Arby's, surveying the building he helps manage.

"At 3:30 this morning, the alarm company called me and said, 'You have some wind damage.' I got here at a quarter to 4, and there was some wind damage. Lo and behold, Arby's was next to our building," Dulaney said, pointing to a pile of debris pushed against the south side of the building.

An Arby's sign had blown even farther south and landed at Taco Bell, which looked as if it had also been hit by high winds but instead is undergoing renovation. Farther east, several trees were blown down along R.D. Mize Road, including some at Blackburn Elementary School.

Kim Jones, district manager of Arby's, said she was thankful the storm happened while no one was working.

"We're so lucky it was the middle of the night," she said.

The roof of Arby's was gone, peeled off like a child's dollhouse, exposing dining booths. A single plant remained as a centerpiece on a tabletop.

And it wasn't the only thing still standing. Jones pointed to the walk-in cooler.

"Look, it's still standing!" she said. "We always tell our folks to go to the walk-in when there's something like this."

Debbie Waterbury, a new trainee at Arby's, said her son-in-law, who works for the Belton fire department, called her this morning to tell her that she probably didn't need to go to work today.

"He said Arby's has been leveled," she said. "I pulled in the back parking lot this morning and my heart just went, 'Whooooaaaaa!'"

On Holke Road, Dawn Hon woke up about 1:30 or 2 a.m. when she heard debris hitting her house.

Outside, a large tree had uprooted and crashed across her driveway.

"I got lucky," she said.

The tree just brushed the side of her house, but many of the shingles on her house were blown off, and scraps of a wooden fence from across the street were in her yard.

Sylvia Wilane, who lives on East 31st Terrace, along the north side of Glendale Park, said the wind woke her about 2 a.m. when her lights went out.

Wilane's house suffered only some shingles blown off, and the glass in her back door shattered.

"It sounded like a train," she said as she stood with other neighbors looking across Lee's Summit Road toward Drumm Farm, where large trees were strewn across the grounds.

Rufus Little, executive director of Drumm Farm, said the roof was peeled off the gymnasium, shingles were blown off and windows broken, and a staircase and gas main damaged.

Outside, the oak trees that lined the winding driveway and dotted the property were heavily damaged.

The upside is that no one at Drumm, where boys and girls live in group foster care homes, was injured, he said.

Heacock said the city has preliminary assessment of storm damage but couldn't place a dollar amount on the damage.

"We had 30 to 40 homes that had significant damage according to our reports ," Heacock said, "but obviously quite a few more had shingle damage."

Traffic on the Noland Road bridge at Interstate 70 was detoured this morning, Heacock said, because the traffic signals at the bridge were knocked out.

Damage was minimal in Lee's Summit, according to Bob Hartnett, deputy director of Public Works.

"We were lucky," he said. "Not all reports are in, but what we're seeing is far better than what it was in Independence, Gladstone, those areas."

About 1,300 homes were without power in the city, according to Aquila, the power company that services the city.

Chris Sandie, assistant director of the Blue Springs Public Works Department, said crews canvassed the city early Friday and found nothing significant.

"Other than a few tree limbs down, things like that, everything was pretty minor," Sandie said. "We were more fortunate than the western part of the state, Liberty and Independence."

Elsewhere in Kansas City, the hurricane-force winds led to various reports of damage.

Authorities said Friday morning that much of the damage is in Gladstone and other neighborhoods north of the Missouri River. Kansas City firefighters say some homes are destroyed, and that one was blown off its foundation. Officials said several people were injured, but none seriously.

The Weather Service said trees and power lines are down all over northwest Missouri.

The (Independence) Examiner