Monday night’s thunderstorm, which brought winds recorded at 70 mph in places, caused scattered damage across Eastern Jackson County.
“It was a mixed bag,” said Mike Curry, Jackson County’s director of emergency preparedness. He and others monitored the storm from the emergency operations center that the county and the city of Independence jointly operate in Independence.
The National Weather Service did report winds of 58 mph in Blue Springs. Hundreds of homes in Independence and Blue Springs lost power, and some trees were damaged.
The storm, coming out of Iowa and Nebraska, slowly lost power as it headed south, according to the Weather Service. At one point, the agency reported sustained winds of 70 mph for close to 10 minutes in Lamoni, Iowa. More reports came in as the storm moved toward Kansas City: 60 mph winds and trees down in Bethany, Mo., nickel-sized hail in Holt, 3- and 4-inch limbs down in Cameron, dime-sized hail in Atchison, Kan.
It crossed the Missouri River late in the evening, with gusts of 63 mph in Kansas City, Mo., at 10:25 and 70 mph in Kansas City, Kan., at 10:39. The 58 mph gust in Blue Springs was at 11:21.
Kansas City Power & Light, which serves most of the Missouri side of the metro area outside Independence, said 73,000 customers lost power, a number that the company said was down to 6,500 by late Tuesday afternoon. The company said it expected to have power back on for everyone by this morning. At Missouri 7 and Interstate 70 in Blue Springs, a transformer went out, knocking out power to about 500 customers.
Independence Power & Light reported that 842 customers lost power in 36 locations as seven power poles snapped. Director Leon Daggett noted that IPL has focused on burying power lines when possible and keeping trees near power lines trimmed, reducing damage in storms like this.
The central part of the state was hard hit too – 70 mph winds at Sweet Springs – and Independence Power & Light sent a crew to Columbia to help restore power.
The recent heavy rains have not been enough to cause the area’s rivers to flood much.
The Little Blue at Lake City rose quickly to 11.8 feet overnight – flood stage is 18 feet – but had fallen back to a little more than 6 feet by mid-afternoon Tuesday. Similarly, the river spiked at 11.16 feet overnight at Knobtown and was back down to about 8.5 feet by Tuesday afternoon.
The Missouri was cresting just below 18 feet Tuesday afternoon at Napoleon – minor flood stage is 17 feet – and was expected to drop to around 9 feet by the weekend. Upstream, the river was at minor flood stage but falling, and projected to keep falling, at both St. Joseph and at Rulo, Neb. The riverbed is wider and deeper in the immediate Kansas City area, and no flooding was reported or expected to be on the way.