Archive for Friday, September 12, 2008

Twister damages buildings in De Soto and Eudora

 A tornado touches down about one-half mile west of the Douglas-Johnson County line near 458 Road (North 900 Road) looking northwest on Friday. According to the photographer, the tornado rumbled across East 2300 Road just west of the silos.

A tornado touches down about one-half mile west of the Douglas-Johnson County line near 458 Road (North 900 Road) looking northwest on Friday. According to the photographer, the tornado rumbled across East 2300 Road just west of the silos.

September 12, 2008, 8:47 p.m.

Updated: September 15, 2008, 5:26 p.m.

Gary Pruitt said it didn't take Friday evening's tornado long to do considerable damage to his home and those of his neighbors.

Pruitt, who lives 84th Street between Rik Mar and Corliss Road, said he scrambled to his basement just before the storm hit his home.

"It looked out and saw some rotation and decided to head to the basement," he said. "I can't say I saw a funnel, just rotation. I was half way done the stairs to the basement when it hit. In 20 to 30 seconds it was over. Then I went out to check on my neighbors."

Cleanup continued in the neighborhood Monday as its residents cleared downed trees from yards and off homes. De Soto City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle said the city would remove brush downed by the storm and dragged to the street. The city's brush pile at the wastewater plant on West 79th Street was also open to receive trees and limbs downed in the storm, he said.

Its 20 to 30 second encounter with the tornado left Pruitt's home with the worst damage of any of the 23 sites to sustain damage from the tornado, said De Soto building inspector Steve Chick. Shingles were stripped from the roof, windows broken and a number of the home's rafters damaged. In addition, the garage lifted from its foundation and its wall separated from its studs, he said.

Chick estimated four homes suffered moderate damage and placed the damage done to Pruitt's home at severe.

Damage was heaviest in the 84th Street and Rik Mar area, but there was damage along the storm's track from Zimmerman's Kill Creek Farm northwest through the new subdivision on Brome Road.

The storm threatened to lift the roof at Zimmerman's Farm from the ban. Darrel Zimmerman said a number of roof braces sustained damage or were moved out of position. A tent at the farm was scattered with its internal elements tossed about the barnyard and the canvas ending up about a mile to the northeast. An outhouse was also overturned, he said.

Felled tree were the concern at the homes of Carol Osborne and Jean and Francis Leiker, which are on the north side of 84th Street from Pruitt's home.

Two mature trees feel on her home, Osborne said. A shed in the back was badly damaged and her home appeared to have roof and siding damage, she said.

The Leikers, Osborne's neighbors to the west, also lost several trees and had roof damage and broken windows. The ceiling in the garage "imploded" and fell to the garage floor.

Jean Leiker said she headed for the basement right before the storm struck shortly after she put the evening meal on the table for her husband, Francis, and son Todd.

""I was the only smart one who did the right thing," she said. "You don't interrupt those two from eating for anything."

The storm apparently tracked through southwest Douglas County and the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant before striking De Soto.

The damage in Eudora occurred on 2330 Road about 3 miles south and a mile east of the intersection of Kansas Highway 10 and Douglas County 1061.

Among the farmsteads damaged was that of Bobby and Michelle Gabriel, 968 E. 2300 Rd.

An employee at the Eudora Post Office, Michelle Gabriel said she called her teenage daughter Lacey shortly after 4:30 in the afternoon to urge her to take shelter.

"My mom said to take shelter," Lacey said. "I was running to the Quonset when I looked to the south and saw it spinning."

Lacey was unharmed as were the farmstead's dogs, horses and livestock. The family's home lost only a couple of windows, Michelle said.

'Two barns are down," she said. "Our big barn and another one are leaning pretty bad. They'll probably have to come down. It was one of those good old barns that had been through everything."

There was worse damage at a home immediately to the west owned by Mark and Janet Gabriel and rented to Jimmy Grems. Janet Gabriel said the two-story house had lost all it windows and was uninhabitable Friday evening. A barn on the property was also blown down.

Neighbors Ben and Jan Delgado also lost a barn, Michelle said.

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