The Heat Is Online

Tornadoes, Storms Rip Midwestern U.S.

Wide swath of severe weather slashes Central U.S., June 15, 2001

After another battle with severe weather, residents across much of the Central United States are spending the cleaning up and making repairs.

"Anywhere from southern Wisconsin to northern Texas was hit pretty hard with that batch of severe weather," explained Mark Ressler, a senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

Indeed, some were hit so hard, they are in the hospital.

Lighting struck two golfers in suburban Kansas City, Kan. Both men were hospitalized. In Overland Park, five bricklayers were injured, one of them seriously, when wind knocked out the scaffold on which they were standing.

Meantime, 80-mph wind gusts swept across Kansas and Missouri, knocking out power to 40,000 businesses and homes throughout the Kansas City area.

In that city alone, more than 100 trees or large limbs blocked streets, according to city forecaster

Forest Decker. Winds also blew two small planes upside down at Johnson County Executive Airport, and another plane was turned on its nose.

In Blue Grass, Iowa, a tornado demolished six homes and damaged another 25 residences. No injuries were reported.

Joanne and Bob Endorf fled to their basement when they heard the distinctive sound of the tornado outside. They barely made it to safety before hearing their home being ripped apart above them. Winds hurled a two-by-four through the back wall of their home and into the shower that Bob Endorf had been in moments before.

Straight-line gusts of up to 90-mph scattered three semi trucks and their cargo along U.S Highway 61 near the Interstate 280 interchange, before reaching Davenport, Iowa.

"I got a call the storm was coming," said Nicole Reimers, whose Davenport church group was holding its annual Gospel Sing Jubilee in an outdoor tent. "By the time I got out to the tent to warn everyone, the wind lifted it up and put it back down again." The tent collapsed on about 25 people.

Arkansas residents bore the brunt of hail damage, but also saw winds blow down trees and power lines in as many as 16 counties before the storm moved out this morning.

In Texas, the hail, rain and lighting prompted organizers to squash the final four horse races at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie. Meantime, winds and downed trees killed power to about 90,000 homes across North Texas.

Three tornadoes were spotted in Stephens, Eastland and Wise Counties, but caused no damage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Winds, rain hammer Iowa, Neb.,Minn.,
June 14, 2001

Residents are weary after another batch of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes pounded states in the Upper Midwest and Central Plains overnight and this morning.

Powerful storms swept across Brainerd, Minn., damaging about 50 homes and knocking out power across the entire city and parts of the nearby town of Baxter. According to the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department, straight line winds or a possible tornado that struck around 10 p.m. was responsible for the damage.

The National Weather Service confirmed that two tornadoes touchdowns Wednesday in Grant County damaged some farm buildings.

Heavy rain caused significant flight delays at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to Northwest Airlines spokesperson Kathy Peach. The airline cancelled 62 flights Wednesday, but was back to normal by the afternoon, Peach said.

Flash flooding also snagged Twin City commuters, as storm sewers overflowed and jammed up important parts of the highway system.

In southern Minnesota, hail sliced through thousands of acres of crops.

"It's as though you've gone out there with a mower and just chopped it off. There's not one single plant left there," said Fraser Norton, county extension agent, who estimated that 10 percent of the Rock County's soybean fields was destroyed.


The western third of Iowa suffered through another night of storms Wednesday. Three reported tornadoes did no damage, but straight-line winds topping 70 mph dislocated several barns and knocked a semi truck off the road.

The winds also toppled trees, ripped out power lines and smashed buildings in Spencer and Woodbury Counties.

Four inches of rain in Crawford County near Denison deluged streets and caused flash flooding.


Deputies were assessing damage today from hail, winds and heavy rains that struck Nebraska Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Rain-fed flash flooding forced water to flow over U.S. Highway 73 and Nebraska Highway 8, both near Falls City.

A reported tornado smashed a farmstead east of Hubbell in Thayer County.

Thayer County officials say outbuildings at the farm were completely missing, as was the west wall of the house and the roof. The family's car was also missing. Two people were at home when the winds struck, but were not injured.

'Vigorous' severe weather strikes Upper Midwest,
June 13, 2001

Residents in counties across several Upper Midwest and Northern Plains states are spending the day cleaning up, after a wide swath of severe weather wrought havoc on the region.

"It was a very vigorous late spring system that moved through Tuesday," said Mark Ressler, a senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel. "It had the triple threat: hail, tornadoes and damaging winds."

Iowa bore the brunt of the bad weather, as residents attempted to fend off heavy rain, high winds, hail and several reported tornadoes in Dickinson, Sioux, O'Brien and Osceola counties.

Though complete details weren't available, Dickinson County authorities reported two people injured by hail in the Okoboji area.

Large hail and high winds also downed power lines and trees, and damaged homes.

In Lyon County, 47 people were forced to temporarily evacuate after flash floods threatened their residences in the town of George.

In Wyoming, at least three tornadoes were spotted in Weston and Fall River counties between bouts of damaging one-inch hail.

Two trailer homes and one secondary residence were blown over or destroyed in Weston County, and residents found themselves without electricity when strong winds downed power lines.

South Dakota residents also weathered the severe outbreak, with reported 60 mph gusts and golf ball-size hail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.