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Severe thunderstorms bring collisions, flooding and outages to the Kansas City region

Torrential rains hit the Kansas City area

The Kansas City region saw hail, torrential rain and lightning Saturday. Many areas had more than 2 inches of rain.
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The Kansas City region saw hail, torrential rain and lightning Saturday. Many areas had more than 2 inches of rain.

More than 3,000 people lost power Saturday afternoon when the Kansas City region was hit with widespread thunderstorms that brought torrential rain and lightning to the area.

According to a KCP&L power outage map, 80 outages had prompted power loss for 3,127 customers as of 2:30 p.m. Later in the night, the map showed that more than 300 of those customers still remained without electricity.

The National Weather Service had warned of hail, heavy rain and lightning that would pick up by noon and become severe in isolated areas. Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued through the early afternoon near cities north, south and east of Kansas City. They included Clinton, Butler, Platte City, Dearborn, Odessa and Higginsville.

“If you have outdoor plans today, you might want to have a contingency plan,” it tweeted.

At least one person in the metro was injured as a result of a lightning strike.

In Smithville, the fire department said it received a call before 2 p.m. in regard to a person possibly struck by lightning.

Fire Capt. Jeff Cauble said crews were called to Jack Rabbit Bend near Camp Branch at Smithville Lake and found a 54-year-old woman who had been struck by lighting while she was fishing. She was taken to a hospital with burn injuries, and was listed in stable condition.

“It’s similar to the ‘turn around, don’t drown’ situation with high water. When thunder roars, go indoors,” Cauble cautioned, sharing a warning from the National Weather Service. “Seek shelter whenever you hear thunder, and then wait approximately 30 minutes after the storm has passed to resume any outdoor activities.”

In some areas, winds reached 60 mph Saturday. Multiple vehicle collisions were reported throughout the metro during the storms, leading to closed lanes and minor accidents.

One crash involving a RideKC bus and another vehicle sent five people, including one juvenile, to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Kansas City police. Police said the crash happened around 12:47 p.m. on Jackson Avenue near East 17th Street.

Several graduation ceremonies were moved indoors as outside facilities such as Worlds of Fun closed.

The weather service predicted a second round of storms in the evening from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Around 10 a.m. a tornado watch was issued for southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri counties until 5 p.m. In Missouri, the watch included counties south of Clinton and Sedalia down to Joplin. In Kansas, it included counties east of El Dorado and Arkansas City and south of Emporia.

More storms with heavy rainfall are expected Monday night through Tuesday.

The weather prompts concerns of flash and river floods for next week.

“Flooding concerns will increase as rain chances return this weekend and carry into the work week,” the weather service said in a report. “Points along the Missouri River will remain in flood for several more days, if not weeks, with the new storms.”

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Katy Bergen covers Johnson County for The Kansas City Star. She is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.
Kaitlyn Schwers covers breaking news and crime at night for The Kansas City Star. Originally from Willard, Mo., she spent nearly three years reporting in Arkansas and Illinois before returning to Missouri and joining The Star in 2017.
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