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tornadoes

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Build higher, build stronger — it pays off big in Kansas.

Disaster mitigation investments in Kansas yielded more savings than efforts in any other state, a new study found. The Pew Charitable Trusts listed Missouri as a close second.

Karen Pendleton / Pendleton's Country Market

A direct hit from last Tuesday's EF4 tornado didn't stop Pendleton's Kaw Valley Country Market from making its usual weekend appearance at the Lawrence Farmers' Market. The bounty was smaller than usual, but it included asparagus, flowers and lots of tomatoes.

Seg. 1: Tornado Coverage | Seg. 2: Trains In Kansas

May 30, 2019

Segment 1: Tornado Aftermath

On Tuesday night, a large tornado hit parts of Lawrence and Johnson County, causing several injuries and property damage across neighborhoods. With many communities in recovery mode after the storm, we speak with reporters who were on the ground in the tornado's aftermath and hear from folks who witnessed it firsthand.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) 

With trees shredded into tinder and homes ripped asunder, scores of families in and around Lawrence and Linwood, Kansas, surveyed lives that forever will be marked by the time before and after Tuesday’s tornado.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Updated at 9:49 p.m. with tornado warnings canceled — A large tornado caused damage south of Lawrence and in the small town of Linwood, Kansas, on Tuesday night, but looked to miss the majority of the Kansas City metro area.

Segment 1: Storm spotters are the first line of defense against incoming severe weather.

Meteorologist don't just rely on sophisticated equipment to provide weather reporting, they also use trained, volunteer storm spotters to relay exactly what's being seen in the sky. But what goes into the training, and what are the risks?

This story has been updated.

More than 2,000 residents in Eureka, Kansas, continued to be without power Wednesday night, a day after an EF-3 tornado hit, damaging more than 25 homes and businesses and injuring eight people.

The tornado struck the town, located about 60 miles east of Wichita, at about 7 p.m. Tuesday. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service estimate winds reached between 136 and 165 mph.

FEMA

A handful of Johnson County's 197 sirens designed to warn residents of a tornado didn’t go off in South Johnson County, where an EF-1 tornado touched down the night of May 2.

“There were some sirens that we found out didn’t activate when they were supposed to and we’re running that down right now,” says Trent Pittman, Johnson County's assistant director of Community Preparedness.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Crews in Kansas City, Missouri, spent Thursday cleaning up after severe storms, which spawned tornadoes, swept through the metro area Wednesday night. 

The National Weather Service reported that three minor to moderate tornadoes touched down in the Kansas City area around 9 p.m. Wednesday — in Raytown and Belton, Missouri, and Overland Park, Kansas. It also reported a tornado touched down a few hours earlier in Big Lake State Park about 100 miles north.

Kansas is about to make it through the end of April without a tornado for only the fourth time since record keeping began.

Segment 1: How people in the Midwest cope when they have a fear of storms.

Spring in the Midwest means blooming flowers and warmer weather ... and also tornado siren tests and scary storms. What is it like for someone with a phobia of severe weather?

Meet a Leawood fifth grader who is one of five finalists in a nationwide contest for her invention, The Storm Sleeper. However, kids aren't the only ones afraid of storms; we hear about astraphobia and the adults who suffer from it.

Segment 1: How does weather shape Kansas culture?

It's that time of year when tornado sirens ring out their eerie sound and crazy weather hits the plains. Inspired by a photography exhibit of Kansas tornado sirens, we explore how the weather affects our lives and communities.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Emergency preparedness is in the national consciousness in a big way. Today, the Smart Money Experts make a special trip to the studio to discuss preparing your family's finances for the wide-ranging effects of a natural disaster. Then, Kansas City voters in April approved a one-eighth-cent sales tax increase aimed at developing the long-neglected east side of town.

Ten years ago this month, a massive tornado nearly wiped Greensburg, Kansas off the map. KCUR's Frank Morris joins us to share how the town's efforts to rebuild became "a laboratory experiment in re-engineering the classic American small town."

Plus, a conference last month brought thousands to Kansas City to talk about "white privilege." We discuss what our local communities are doing to address and respond to the concept. 

Guests:

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

On May 4, 2007, an enormous tornado nearly wiped Greensburg, Kansas, off the map. What happened next was almost a laboratory experiment in re-engineering the classic American small town.

Like the towns all around it, Greensburg was in decline before the storm. In a bid to survive, town leaders decided to go green in a big way. Ten years on, the ambitious effort says a lot about the headwinds facing many rural towns. 

Maj. Geoff Legler / Oklahoma National Guard

Donald Trump took over the Oval Office two months ago, and his trade policies are having an effect. Today, we'll find out how his search for better deals is creating divisions in Dawson County, Nebraska. Then, learn how building techniques, borrowed from construction practices in hurricane zones, can help Tornado Alley homes stand up to spring's strong winds.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

After the EF-3 tornado that destroyed homes in Oak Grove, Missouri, residents of the damaged neighborhoods were mostly in good spirits Tuesday afternoon – happy to be alive and grateful for neighbors who were helping clean up.

Jennifer Swartz’s home on South Clinton Street was gone. She and her husband were having dinner in Lee’s Summit when the storm hit on Monday night. When they tried to return home, they hit a blockade and drove to Independence, where they spent the night with her husband's parents.

Twitter / Missouri Highway Patrol

From Olathe, Kansas, to Oak Grove, Missouri, Tuesday morning, metro-area residents were surveying damage and catching their breath after a line of severe storms rolled through Monday night, causing widespread damage but no major injuries or deaths. 

The National Weather Service says two tornadoes touched down near Oak Grove and Smithville and officials are set to survey damage there and in Olathe. Schools in Odessa, Oak Grove and Lee’s Summit canceled classes Tuesday due to continued power outages and damage to some buildings. 

The rebuilding of Joplin after a devastating tornado struck in 2011 was generally applauded as a textbook example of how to take care of people when disaster hits. However, homeowners and businesses on the East Coast are still struggling in the aftermath of 2012's Hurricane Sandy. 

Guests:

With large hail, rain and even one confirmed tornado sweeping through the Kansas City area Thursday, local Twitter users took to their cell phones with the hashtag #kswx to capture photos of the swirling, gray skies.

We put together a few highlights — or lowlights depending on your tolerance for storms — of the weather.

Much of metro Kansas City is experiencing severe weather with multiple watches and warnings throughout the listening area.

“Some of these storms are capable of producing tornadoes," says Bill Bunting, chief of forecast operations at the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. "All of them are capable of producing damaging winds in excess of 60 miles per hour and large hail, and we’ve had reports of up to baseball-size hail over Northeast Kansas.”

Bill Anderson / KCUR 89.3

It’s been a rainy couple of weeks in Kansas City and the rest of this week promises even more showers and thunderstorms. Why so much rain?

“You know the simple answer? It’s May,” Andy Bailey, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told Steve Kraske on Wednesday’s Up To Date.

Bailey says rainfall so far this season has been above average, but not enough to cause alarm.

“The unusual thing for us here, is to be above normal rainfall and yet have a relatively below normal severe weather season.”

@TwistedSkiesWx

Tuesday promises to be a wild day for weather in and around the Kansas City metro. But breathless TV forecasts and an endless social media stream of predictions and warnings may have you confused. 

This graphic produced by the National Weather Service in Kansas City sums up neatly both when and where you should be looking for severe weather: 

Wikipedia

Does the Kansas we see in The Wizard of Oz have anything to do with the Kansas on this side of the rainbow? From tornadoes to costumes to politics, we explore the different interpretations of this classic American film.

Guests:

Meet the guy who oversees Kansas City's 127 tornado sirens.

Guest:

  • Steve Bean, KCMO's Office of Emergency Management

As the nation looks back on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged cities and communities along the Gulf Coast, we discuss how well the Kansas City area is prepared to deal with disasters of similar proportions — both natural and man-made.

Guests:

  • Chris Carroll is Emergency Planner for the city of Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Justin Sorg is the Planning and Exercise Program Manager for the Mid-America Regional Council.

Frank Morris / KCUR

A line of storms moved through the Kansas City area early Monday evening, producing heavy rain and tornadoes.

The Clay Country Sheriff’s office reports a tornado touching down near the intersection of Interstate 35 and Highway 152 in Liberty.

A tornado also reportedly touched down in Eudora, Kansas, but in both cases, no injuries were reported.

Many intersections in the metro flooded after the thunder clouds quickly dumped several inches of rain. The Kansas City Fire Department reports high water downtown near Interstate 70 and 13th street.

David DeHetre / Flickr--CC

If you were awake in the Kansas City metro around 11:25 p.m. Saturday, you may have heard a tornado siren ... but you may have not.

Around the same time, the National Weather Service was sending emergency alerts warning about flash floods in the area, creating confusion for many Kansas Citians.

Check out what Kansas Citians were tweeting:

A storm pattern bringing thunderstorms, heavy rain, hail and high winds moved across the Kansas City metro Saturday night. Flash flood and tornado warnings were issued for the region and thousands lost power. Most power had been restored by Sunday morning. 

Though there has been no major damage reported in Kansas City, the Clay County town of Mosby, Missouri, is under evacuation because of rising water, according to the Kansas City Star.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Shortly after a massive twister struck his city in May 2011, Joplin, Missouri, resident Brandon McCoy described what he saw during what turned out to be one of the worst tornadoes in U.S. history.

“Standing on the sixth floor, I was trying to help a woman out of some debris, and you look outside and, just, everything’s gone,” he told NPR at the time. “Everything. And nobody knew what happened.”

The tornado left a wide swath of destruction in its wake. One hundred fifty-eight people died. Property damage was catastrophic.  

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