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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Tornado grazes county, council member deems it a wake-up call

Updated: May 9

Storm chasers showed this photo of Friday's funnel cloud on their camera to Linn County resident Tim Clifton when they met him near the intersection of Quail and 300 roads. According to the chasers, the photo was taken from the parking lot of the convenience store near Prescott. (Submitted photo)

MOUND CITY – Linn County for the most part dodged a couple of tornadic bullets last weekend on Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27.

A Friday afternoon tornado developed southwest of Linn County and skirted around Chanute before grazing the Blue Mound area. However, instead of maintaining its northwest trajectory, it made a 45-degree turn and bounded down the Linn-Bourbon county line before heading into Missouri.

On Saturday evening another possible tornado cell entered from the west on an eastward course. While the cell had area broadcasters buzzing, it did not develop into a twister.

In the Linn County Commission meeting on Monday, April 29, Emergency Management Director Randy Hegwald explained to the commissioners that the storm notification to the public on Friday night and Saturday night was different because of the timing and nature of the storm. He said on Friday night storm spotters were activated and the storm could be seen by spotters so warnings were activated. 

He said that on Saturday night, because of the darkness and storm clouds, spotters could not see anything and the emergency warning system was not set off until after the National Weather Services (NWS) radar indicated that severe weather was approaching.

Friday’s tornado brushed along the county line just as the Baby Shower and Kids Fair was getting under way just east of Mound City. Scheduled to be a two-hour event sponsored by the Linn County Health Department with free food for families attending, organizers became aware of the threat and put the event on a fast track, giving away the free raffle prizes early so attendees could head for home and shelter.

It was Saturday’s storm that made the Pleasanton City Council take notice at its meeting on Monday, April 29. 

“Saturday was a big wake-up call for all of us,” said Bill Skipper, a council member who is on the committee for the city’s community center, which when it was built was meant to serve as a storm shelter as well.

One thing that is needed is volunteers to help “declutter” the shelter. He also said that he needed to review the requirements for the shelter room to make sure it met requirements to make it function.

While Saturday’s potential storm might have been a wake-up call, Friday’s twister caused some damage.

According to Hegwald, Friday’s tornado was on the ground and destroyed some outbuildings just southwest of Blue Mound. At least one residence was affected by the tornado, but Hegwald categorized that as “cosmetic” damage and not structural.

Hegwald said the twister remained on the ground until it reached Kansas Highway 31, where it lifted off the ground but continued on its easterly path before crossing the state line and into Missouri where it touched down again.

He reported that there had been no injuries or deaths in the county. He said that the National Weather Service will survey the damage and determine what type of winds hit that area.

Since it was the first storm that Hegwald had worked on in the county, he would like feedback from the community about how the process was handled. He said that he would appreciate phone calls or in-person conversations if people wanted to stop by his office and discuss their concerns.

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