KANSAS CITY, Mo. â€” A severe storm system pummeled parts of the Midwest overnight with tornadoes, huge hailstones and powerful winds, damaging dozens of buildings and injuring at least 10 people in Missouri.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, received reports of 32 tornadoes in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois late Monday and early Tuesday. Powerful winds extended as far south as the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, where a post office and church were damaged, and as far north as Wisconsin, where trees were downed.
The Kansas City area sustained widespread damage, and crews planned to survey and assess the damage early Tuesday.
Dan Hawblitzel, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, said there were corridors of significant damage in Oak Grove east of Kansas City, Smithville north of Kansas City and the Kansas suburbs of Leawood and Olathe. Hawblitzel said there were no immediate reports of fatalities from the storms.
“It played out as we expected â€” several tornadoes and a lot of wind damage,” Hawblitzel said. “It’s certainly sad to see and hear about the homes destroyed.”
Oak Grove Emergency Management Director Mark Sherwood said about 20 homes were damaged or destroyed in and near the city. Ten to 15 people were hurt, but none had life-threatening injuries, he said.
The late-winter storms spawned warnings from the Southern Plains to the Upper Midwest. Baseball-sized hail was reported in parts of Missouri, while hurricane-force winds were reported in parts of Iowa. The storm system was weakening as it moved to the east but the Storm Prediction Center said parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama could see severe thunderstorms Tuesday.
Jim Suhr, The Associated Press