The Lee’s Summit Fire Department is changing its storm warning policy following Monday night’s tornado.
A tornado briefly touched down, but outdoor sirens were not sounded, and the Fire Department acknowledges getting comments and concerns since then. It now says if the National Weather Service posts a tornado warning for any of southern Jackson County or northern Cass County, sirens across the city will be sounded. Part of Lee’s Summit is in Cass County.
The Fire Department pointed out that sirens are just one means of alerting the public. Emergency managers frequently remind residents that sirens are only meant to alert people who are outdoors. Everyday noises inside a building – even the TV turned up a bit – can drown them out. Emergency managers recommend having several means of keeping an eye on the weather and getting the message when watches and warnings are posted. Those can include TV, radio, the internet, programmable weather radios and any number of smartphone apps.
The National Weather Service classified Monday’s Lee’s Summit tornado as an EF1. The enhanced F-scale rating runs from 0 to 5, and anything rated 2 or higher is considered to be a significant tornado.
Although the Weather Service says the tornado was on the ground for two minutes – from 8:03 to 8:05, covering 2.3 miles – it went through one of the most developed and visible parts of the city.
It dropped down just east of U.S. 50, between John Knox Village and the Summit Woods Crossing shopping area. It went east and slightly north, just south of Chipman Road and past the southern edge of the Summit Technology Campus. It angled across Chipman at about the business park east of the railroad tracks. Still moving generally east, it angled slightly more north and picked up at about Independence and Swann.
The Weather Service says the storm had peak winds of 108 and, at its widest, was 25 yards across. No injuries were reported.