A heavy storm with what was widely reported to be a tornado struck Oak Grove Monday evening, leaving most of the city without power.
“We were hit by a possibly a small tornado. We’ve got damage in the south part of Oak Grove,” said Mark Sherwood of the Sni Valley Fire Protection District.
Sni Valley Fire Protection District Chief Carl Scarborough reported that, as of about 9:30 p.m., emergency personnel had found about 10 to 12 injuries among people in Oak Grove, but nothing serious or life-threatening. Workers continued to canvass affected areas on either side of Broadway – the main north-south road – to check residences for any trapped people.
The American Red Cross was opening the Civic Center, 2100 Broadway, as a shelter or a place where shelter services would be coordinated.
Groups of citizens walked several blocks south, past the Dollar General store that suffered severe roof damage, to areas generally from 25th Street south to 28th, to check on family and friends. Aside from the gas stations directly off Interstate 70 and vehicle lights, the town was dark from the power outage.
Sherwood said there were reports of heavy damage to an apartment complex. He said damage was reported just south of the city, too, in areas such as Stillhouse Road, Hillsdale School Road and Hardsaw Road.
Despite the lack of traffic lights and an increasing number of cars on Broadway from people coming to check on others, traffic generally moved in a deliberate, orderly fashion.
One witness said the storm struck around 8:05 p.m.
“I got my kids to the basement, and our ears started popping, and stuff started flying,” said Sara Nadeau, who lives in south Oak Grove.
Nadeau, who is the public information officer for the city of Grain Valley, said she had not heard of heavy damage in that city.
Eddie Saffell, assistant chief of the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, said the storm appeared to hit in the area of Colbern Road and Missouri 7 and then rolled northeast. It appears that Grain Valley escaped serious damage, but Saffell said emergency workers were assessing a good deal of relatively minor damage.
Late Monday night, Kansas City Power & Light reported thousands without power, including many in Eastern Jackson County. Independence Power and Light reported about 100 people without power, with crews out addressing the problem.
The storm moved from central Kansas on a long front stretching across several counties and running generally northeast to southwest and generally moving east at high speed. Tornado warnings started late in the afternoon in central Kansas and marched steadily to and then through the metro area.
Reports gathered by the National Weather Service from emergency personnel, social media and other sources outline the storm’s breadth and damage. A trained weather spotter reported one-inch hail at 23rd and Lee’s Summit in Independence.
A weather spotter saw a tornado three miles north of Kansas City International Airport, and the airport recorded winds of 67 mph. A power pole came down on a car in Carrollton; people were inside but unhurt. A possible tornado was reported in Carrollton. Homes in Stanley in Johnson County, Kansas, had major damage, including roofs gone. A hangar was reported destroyed at the Johnson County Executive Airport in Kansas. A tractor-trailer was flipped over just north of Kansas City International Airport, injuring one. Two-inch hail was reported near Shawnee, Kansas. Two funnel clouds and winds of 70 mph were reported near Unionville in north-central Missouri near the Iowa line.
There were reports that the Chicago-to-Los Angeles Amtrak – which passes through northern Independence and Sugar Creek and stops in Kansas City – was held up by the storm. Amtrak did report that train was running about 90 minutes late Monday night due to a service disruption.