Kansas declares tornado emergency, at least 11 injured; airport shut down

Posted at 1:16 AM, May 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 01:16:31-04

An apparent tornado hit Lawrence, Kansas, on Tuesday, injuring 11 people in the town, while Kansas City International Airport briefly shut down due to damage.

Monday marked the 11th consecutive day where multiple tornadoes were reportedthroughout the country, according to the NWS.

NWS issued a "tornado emergency" alert for parts of eastern Kansas on Tuesday night as dangerous weather touched down in the area.

Police in Lawrence, the home of Kansas University, said a massive tornado left large trees, power lines and debris along the streets, making some major roads impassable. There were 11 people injured in the town, mostly minor, according to a Lawrence Memorial Hospital spokesperson.

Kansas University is already out for the summer.

Kansas City International Airport said two flights were diverted and passengers waiting in the airport were rushed to the parking garage tunnels at about 7 p.m. The"all clear" was given about 45 minutes later.

The airport remained closed, however, due to "unsafe conditions from area storm debris." The airport planned to reopen after 11 p.m. local time.

"Most structural damage appears to have occurred near Lawrence as the tornado passed just outside the city limit," the Lawrence Police Department said in a tweet. "Please do not go sight seeing tornado damage. This only hampers the efforts of emergency workers."

There were also about 13,000 customers without power in the Lawrence area late Tuesday.

Tornadoes devastated parts of Ohio on Monday night, leveling homes and leaving thousands without water and power.

"I don't know that any community is fully prepared for this type of devastation," Dayton Assistant Fire Chief Nicholas Hosford said Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America." "We have homes flattened, entire apartment complexes destroyed, businesses throughout our community where walls have collapsed," Hosford said.

Residents near New York City also braced for a possible tornado, but despite warnings it did not materialize.

The National Weather service issued tornado warnings for several counties surrounding Manhattan on Tuesday evening, urging residents in the path of the "dangerous storm" to stay inside.

The service has said the storms could produce hail the size of quarters.

"Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely," NWS said in a statement. "This Tornado Warning replaces the Severe Thunderstorm Warning issued for the same area."

The warning covers areas surrounding Staten Island and parts of northeastern New Jersey, including Hudson County, Union County and southern Essex County.