The six unconfirmed tornadoes that touched down in the Kansas City metropolitan area and surrounding counties Wednesday were part of what the National Weather Service at Pleasant Hill, Mo., label as a low-topped, or cold core, system.

The six unconfirmed tornadoes that touched down in the Kansas City metropolitan area and surrounding counties Wednesday were part of what the National Weather Service at Pleasant Hill, Mo., label as a low-topped, or cold core, system.

Julie Adolphson, chief meteorologist at Pleasant Hill, said such tornadoes and the system that creates them are actually quite common at this time of year. These types of tornadoes are relatively weak, she said, as they dip and swirl from the sky, but few take form and land.

 Still, it put a fright into the hearts of Jackson County residents, who, like the rest of the nation, have been on pins and needles following the tragedy in Joplin, Mo., where an EF5 tornado destroyed a swath of the town, killing at least 125 and wounding hundreds.  

Adolphson, in speaking with emergency management officials in Independence and other communities Wednesday afternoon, said there were no confirmed sightings of tornadoes touching the ground in Eastern Jackson County.

But that doesn’t mean they weren’t there, according to Adolphson.

The six unconfirmed tornadoes touched down late Wednesday morning and during the afternoon in Johnson, Miami, Clay and Cass counties, according to reports. Tornadoes were reported to have touched down near Louisburg, Kan., in two Overland Park locations, southeast of Harrisonville, Mo., and north and south of Kearney, Mo.

 At one point, according to television reports, the storm system traveled north up Interstate 435 toward Interstate 70. That was about 12:30 p.m., and sirens blared over and over in Independence.

Adolphson said communities have the individual choice whether or not to sound the sirens, but with heightened awareness over Joplin and the area sightings, most communities, like Independence, chose to sound them.

“Each jurisdiction has its own policy, and even when we don’t issue an alert and the city feels there’s a significant threat, they can sound them,” she said.

In Independence and Blue Springs, students at the various schools were taken into “safe positions” into hallways. In spite of the threat, however, no damage was reported in Eastern Jackson County, according to police dispatchers.

Ed Saffell, assistant fire chief for the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, confirmed the lack of damage or tornado sightings.

“We’re ready if a system moves in,” he said. “We’re just waiting for what comes next.”

The tornado that touched down in Sedalia was an EF2, according to Adolphson. It caused heavy damage in some areas and sent 15 people to the hospital with minor injuries.  

Adolphson said the system appeared to be an edge of a huge crescent of activity that stretched from eastern Kansas to up to Missouri and Iowa, extending through Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.

“It was just swirling around and the spiraling bands came along with it,” she said.

This is a banner year for Pleasant Hill, which monitors weather for western Missouri and eastern Kansas. The first tornado warning was issued on April 4, but not another warning was issued until May 21. In all, the National Weather Service has issued 44 tornado warnings for the year.

“We monitor 44 counties, but that doesn’t mean there has been one warning for each of the 44 counties,” she said. “It’s been a very volatile season.”

No significant weather is expected for today, she said. The center is calling for rain and possibly a thunderstorm.