A tornado destroyed homes and injured people as it cut a path east across Miami and Cass counties Friday evening.
The tornado touched down in Miami County about 6:30 p.m., wiping out a few homes in a sparsely populated area west of Hillsdale Lake. About 7 p.m., it touched down again near Freeman in Cass County, according to the National Weather Service. The storm then moved east into Missouri.
In Cass County, the tornado damaged Cass Midway High School northwest of Freeman, breaking windows and damaging the bleachers and press box around the football field, said Lt. Kevin Tieman of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office. At least a dozen homes were damaged, but no injuries were reported.
To the west, Miami County Undersheriff Wayne Minckley said the tornado left behind property damage and some minor injuries.
No life-threatening injuries or deaths were reported Friday evening across the tornado’s path.
But the tornado certainly left its mark west of Hillsdale Lake, about 40 miles southwest of Kansas City. Keith Sutton, 68, took shelter in a neighbor’s basement while the tornado turned his house inside out.
“My house is completely gone,” he said. “There’s nothing there.”
Sutton said the tornado sounded only a faint warning before it came over a nearby wooded area and blew up his modular home at the west end of 268th Terrace. The tornado even broke the foundation before it moved on, flattening a nearby home and leaving his neighbors “banged up” but not seriously hurt.
“It was here and gone, just like that,” Sutton said. “It was ka-boom. It’s one of those things, you never think it’s going to happen to you, and then it does.”
Sutton said he did his best to cover up his belongings, which were still strewn about his property as dark fell. He hoped to retrieve some things left to him by his father and grandfather. Power company workers came to tape off the area around his home. Sutton said he would stay with friends Friday night, and count on insurance to help him rebuild.
“I’m alive,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of really good support.”
At times on Friday evening, the tornado warnings included two separate areas. One, to the south, straddled the state line and covered parts of Miami and Cass counties. To the northeast, in Missouri, another tornado warning included Ray and Carroll counties.
By about 8 p.m. the danger had passed from the Kansas City area, where the weather service warned of possible thunderstorms and issued a flash flood watch.