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County hit with storm damage

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

Severe storms and tornadic-like activity ravaged parts of Platte County last Wednesday night, as a tornado touched down in Lansing, Ks., and headed east toward Platte City and KCI (Kansas City International) Airport.

Platte County, which came under a tornado warning around 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, was one of several counties affected by the damaging storms that traveled through the metro area.

According to Platte City City Administrator Keith Moody, at around 7 p.m., 65 mile per hour straight line winds combined with heavy straight line rain and pea size hail hit the city, causing loss of power for about an hour.

The strong wind and rains downed a main Missouri Public Service feeder located on Bethel Road, causing the loss of power to the whole city. Moody stated beyond the loss of power, the city was fortunate to have only lost a few limbs and trees throughout the community.

According to George Minter, spokesman for Aquila, formerly Missouri Public Service, stated power outages were also seen in Smithville, Tracy and Weston.

Citizens in the area reported having received between 1-11/2 inches of rainfall over Wednesday evening, most of which was believed to have came during the storm.

Moody stated that according to police department reports, both sirens located in city limits, (one at city hall and the second located at the southwest corner of the school) were sounded around 7 p.m.

In other communities across Platte County, the heavy wind and rain caused severe damage to four trailer homes in Weston, displacing families from their homes, as well as destroying a storage shed at American Bowman Restaurant in Weston.

In Farley, the winds blew down trees, tore the siding off a church and blew the shingles off of rooftops.

"While there was damage due to the storm, there was no disaster declared because it wasn't extensive," said Shelle Browning, Platte County sheriff's department public information officer.

Browning stated that all the sirens controlled by the communications center were activated. According to Browning, the communications center received reports from citizens stating they did not hear the sirens.

"There are a lot of communities in the unincorporated part of the county that aren't within hearing distance of the sirens, and that's why we're encouraging Project Community Alert," said Browning.

Project Community Alert is a cooperative effort by the Local Emergency Management Directors and metro area Price Chopper Stores to provide weather radios to citizens at a reduced price. Weather radios are available at any Price Chopper store in the eight county metropolitan area at a reduced price of $39.95. The radios normally retail for $60.

At Kansas City International Airport, passengers and employees were taken into underground tunnels. The storm delayed flights and a few were diverted.