A storm system that spawned tornadoes in Michigan and Iowa hit Pettis County Monday night, causing power outages and some wind damage, mostly in the form of downed tree limbs.
While county residents got a break from the devastation seen in other states, Dave Clippert, director of Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency, said the storm could have been much worse.
“We were expecting winds to hit around 70 mph. But, what actually happened is right before the storm, sometimes there is a wind event called an outflow boundary that came through. It’s very thin, very long and does not last very long,” Clippert said.
The leading edge of the storm entered the county at approximately 11 p.m. Monday bringing with it 40 to 45 mph winds, but after the front moved to the south, southwest, winds diminished and the event consisted of mostly lightning, thunder and heavy rains.
“It did knock some branches down and knocked the power out in some places. That’s about it. It was never anything that was really major,” Clippert said. “It was just a funny night. When the actual storm came through it was traveling at about 40 to 45 miles an hour, that was the highest winds we were getting and that was for a very short period.”
Sedalia-Pettis County EMA did not activate the sirens, but did open the storm shelters.
“My kind of limit before I will send out a siren, you have to start hitting 80 mph before we will do that,” Clippert said. “We did have the storm shelters open, but once we saw what was going to happen we didn’t have anybody go in them.”
Still, it was enough to knock out power for more than 1,000 customers in the county. As of Tuesday morning, only 50 or so customers remained without electricity, according to Kansas City Power & Light.
The storm originally erupted at approximately 10:30 p.m. Sunday in Michigan. According to The Associated Press, a severe thunderstorm packing winds estimated at more than 80 mph injured several people and caused significant damage to homes in western Michigan, prompting flooding Monday, and storms that spawned tornadoes damaged some homes in Iowa.
“This was the same system,” Clippert said. “They were expecting from the beginning of the day that most of the damage would stay north of I-70, but as it kept moving down at one time it stretched from the Iowa/Missouri border all the way into Kansas. So it was a long big system and there were a tremendous number of severe thunderstorm warnings issued.”