Storms and tornadoes caused extensive damage across the Kansas City area Monday night as a line of storms pounded the region with rain, hail and high winds.
As the worst of the storms passed, reports of damage came in from various parts of the metro and surrounding communities. Among the hardest-hit were Oak Grove, Smithville and Johnson County Executive Airport in Olathe. In some places, high winds ripped roofs and walls from buildings, tore the paint off of cars and left insulation stuck in trees and fences.
The National Weather Service said teams will survey tornado damage in those areas and in Carrollton. One neighborhood in Leawood saw many homes severely damaged.
Kansas City and surrounding areas remained under a flash flood warning for hours after the storm passed, and flash flooding was reported in downtown Kansas City.
No life-threatening injuries were reported Monday night, but more than a dozen people were treated for minor injuries.
At one point Monday night, KCP&L reported 100,000 customers without power in the Kansas City area. By 1 a.m. Tuesday, outages still affected more than 23,000 in Jackson County and more than 1,500 in Johnson County, Kan. Nearly a third of Cass County customers lost power.
The storms struck hard in Kansas across Douglas, Johnson and Leavenworth counties and over the state line in Platte, Clay, Jackson, Cass and Lafayette counties, as well as areas to the north and east.
Oak Grove saw heavy damage after a tornado touched down one or more times in the city, according to Fire Chief Carl Scarborough of the Sni Valley Fire Protection District. The weather service reported the touchdown about 8:20 p.m. At least a dozen people suffered minor injuries.
Scarborough said some buildings were destroyed and others damaged in the city, with severe damage between Hardsaw and Fulks roads. The storm blew the roof off some buildings, downed power lines and knocked out power to large sections of the city.
“There were some cars moved, involuntarily,” Scarborough said.
The number of people displaced was unknown. The tornado may have touched down again to the east, near Bates City in Lafayette County.
As many as 50 homes and commercial buildings were damaged in Oak Grove near 25th and Main streets, said Casey Hyatt, a worker for Tanner's tree service.
"It's just a mess up there," he said.
The Oak Grove school district canceled its Tuesday classes because of the power outages and damage.
In Smithville, city administrator Steve Garrett said several people were treated for minor injuries and at least six to eight homes were significantly damaged. At least one home was judged unsafe.
The storm damage seen across the city was “pretty significant,” he said. But “it could have been a lot worse.”
Heavy damage was also reported north of Smithville, in Trimble.
Grandview police reported damage to trees and power lines near 140th and 12th streets.
Probable tornado damage in Carrollton included cars flipped and downed trees and power lines down, according to the weather service. Richmond also reported severe damage.
Damage was also reported in Kansas.
The storms hit Johnson County Executive Airport in Olathe, damaging many planes and hangars.
In Leawood, about two dozen homes were damaged in the Steeplechase subdivision east of 145th Street and Mission Road.
Fire officials said the storm hit about 8:06 p.m., slamming through an area several blocks long.
The entire side and roof of one house in the 3100 block of W. 145th Terrace was severely damaged, and other houses sustained damage to roofs, gutters and chimneys. On one street, a snapped-off tree lay in the street, and puzzled firefighters said no one could figure out where it had come from.
Deputy Fire Chief Wayne Harder said the damage was possibly caused by straight-line winds but said officials won't know until weather experts can assess the area on Tuesday.
"The main thing is there were no injuries," he said. "It could have been a whole lot worse."
Karen Stroh, who lives on the cul-de-sac, said she was washing dishes when the storm hit.
"It was incredibly loud," she said. "I heard the banging, and the wind was very intense. I thought our house was falling apart."
The next thing she knew, she said, "we heard a tremendous crash."
"We found out when it was all over that it was the oak tree in the front yard. But that can be replaced. We're just relieved everyone is OK."
Venkat Manda said he arrived home from a concert to see the side of his next-door neighbor's house scattered in the yard.
"I saw everything laying all over the neighborhood, and the whole side of their house was pretty much gone," said Manda, whose house sustained little damage. "It's been eight, nine years I've been living here, and I've never seen damage like this. But I'm very thankful nobody was hurt and my neighbors are safe."
About 8:45 p.m., the National Weather Service reported “significant damage” from south of Plattsburg to near Lathrop, that was probably caused by a tornado.
Throughout the evening, the weather service issued tornado warnings in southern Jackson and Cass counties, as well as north of the Kansas City area, from Platte and Clay counties to the Iowa border. Several tornado touchdowns were reported.
About 6:30 p.m., a brief tornado touchdown was reported near Maryville.
The weather service reported a tornado was spotted on the ground near Platte City about 7:20 p.m.
About 7:30 p.m., the weather service relayed “multiple reports” of a funnel cloud or tornado near Maysville, Mo., in DeKalb County.
As the storms moved east across Missouri, the destruction continued.
In Kansas City and Johnson County, the storms dropped hail up to 2 inches in diameter. The weather service reported golf ball-sized hail at 111th Street and Kansas 7 highway in northern Olathe and 2-inch hail in Shawnee.
Officials at Kansas City International Airport said air traffic was briefly interrupted but that planes are departing. Some flights skirted the storm and headed elsewhere.
Earlier, the weather service had issued a tornado warning for areas near Topeka and north of Kansas City across Leavenworth, Platte City and Smithville. Those warnings expired.
The area was already under a wind advisory, and a red flag warning for elevated fire risk was in effect Monday afternoon. Those concerns will continue on Tuesday after the storm system moves out by midnight.
The storms come as Kansas and Missouri are observing Severe Weather Awareness Week.
After the storms move through, very dry air will move into the region. It will also be slightly cooler, with highs reaching into low 60s on Tuesday, which will remain above the normal high of low 50s for this time of year.
The dry air is expected to remain in place Wednesday. A drop in wind speeds will decrease the wildfire danger. Highs will be in the mid-60s on Wednesday before climbing back into the 70s on Thursday.