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Fierce winds knock down limbs and cause power outages as dangerous cold settles in

Updated: 2014-01-27T19:23:53Z

By JUDY L. THOMAS and ADAM DARBY

The Kansas City Star

Fierce arctic winds raging through the Kansas City area Sunday night downed tree limbs and knocked out power to hundreds of homes and businesses.

Temperatures plummeted more than 50 degrees from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning, and more dangerous wind chills are forecast for Monday and Tuesday.

Gusts of 45 to 55 miles per hour have been common as a strong trough of cold air moves across the region from the northwest, said Scott Blair, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“We’re hearing scattered reports of small limbs down and power lines down and arcing in some areas,” Blair said. “There have been some pretty healthy gusts behind a strong cold front.”

The cold blast will linger until Wednesday or Thursday, according to the National Weather Service, with high temperatures rising only in the mid-teens on Monday and staying below freezing until Wednesday or Thursday. A low of 2 degrees is predicted for Tuesday morning, with overnight wind chills dropping to a dangerous 5 below zero.

KCP&L reported power outages in areas including Blue Springs, Gladstone, Grandview, Kansas City, Liberty, Merriam, Mission Hills, Overland Park, Prairie Village, Raytown, Shawnee and Spring Hill. The largest outage was in Lee’s Summit, affecting more than 500 customers.

The winds also hampered firefighters’ efforts to knock down a large grass fire between Eudora and Lawrence in Douglas County that briefly shut down lanes in both directions on Kansas Highway 10 on Sunday.

Authorities said the winds, along with the dry conditions, were causing grass fires from grill embers and discarded cigarettes. They urged people to consider refraining from grilling during the high winds and if smoking cigarettes, to completely extinguish them in water or sand and not throw them from vehicles.

To reach Judy L. Thomas, call 816-234-4334 or send email to jthomas@kcstar.com.

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