More tornadoes rip through Missouri, Kansas

For several hours Wednesday, tornadoes scared two states already raw from the Joplin disaster.

One tornado tore into Sedalia, Mo., while others dipped suddenly out of rain clouds and hopped at least a half-dozen times across the Kansas City area.

Thanks partly to renewed awareness of dangers from tornadoes, injuries on Wednesday were few.

About 50 people huddled in an Overland Park store’s freezer to wait out the storm. Even at City Hall in Kansas City, out of the direct path of the storm, hundreds crowded into the basement, first floor and stairwells for a half-hour.

And other good news: The oppressive weather system that began the day before with killer tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas has finally moved off.

“For the rest of the week, the Kansas City area should get a respite,” said Julie Adolphson, meteorologist in charge for the National Weather Service at Pleasant Hill.

The tornadoes Wednesday were unlike the monster that plowed through Joplin, staying on the ground for six miles.

In meteorological terms, these storm clouds were called “cold-core low-topped supercells,” quite capable of producing many dancing funnel clouds.

“They do skip and hop,” Adolphson said. “You will see a funnel forming. It will reach the ground briefly, then it will go up. Develop and lift, and develop and lift.”

The strongest hit came in Sedalia, where a quarter-mile to half-mile-wide tornado crumpled a trailer park, damaged homes and businesses and injured 15 to 25 people.

Larry Ward, Sedalia’s acting police chief, described the injured as “walking wounded.”

Ward said residents were more alert because of the deadly Joplin tornado on Sunday.

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